Monday, August 21, 2006

Black Spartacus by James Lincoln Warren

This is an awesome story and the first one by Mr. Warren I've ever read. Since reading it a week or two ago, I've done a bit more reading, but first things first. The story concerns a 18th century British slave put to boxing for his owner's purse winning purposes. But what happens when the owner winds up dead? The slave is arrested and about to be hanged, that's what. Enter the indagator for Lloyd's, Alan Treviscoe. There is no doubt (certainly not in Treviscoe's mind) that he'll get to the bottom of things, but will the bottom of things reveal that the slave did it or was there a third party involved? Or was it suicide? Okay, once you come across the corpse, you'll rule that one out, but everything else is fair game.

The writing puts you in an 18th century frame of mind quickly and smoothly, and the clues are subtle enough that it was a real puzzler for me. The ending was a pleasant surprise for me (I mean the actual end, not the revelation of the killer although that too).

The story, which first came out in 1999 is a good reason to buy the Fifty Years of Crime and Suspense anthology edited by Linda Landrigan of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. Pick up a copy. It's a classic.


Blogger Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

Hey, I just read that same story the other day. I've been working my way through the Hitchcock's anthology. I think "Black Spartacus" is one of the best ones in the book.

August 22, 2006 1:09 PM  
Blogger James Lincoln Warren said...

Thanks for your enthusiastic comments. I am very gratified that you both enjoyed the story.

August 22, 2006 9:07 PM  

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