Matthew Booth is the author of Sherlock Holmes and the Giant’s Hand and one of the authors contributing to Further Exploits of Sherlock Holmes. He is an author in the MX Publishing Undershaw Preservation project, having contributed to their anthologies of new Sherlock Holmes stories.
Matthew was a scriptwriter for the American radio network, Imagination Theater, syndicated by Jim French Productions, contributing particularly to their series: The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Publication date: 18th September 2018
Paperback £9.99. €16.95, US$19.95
ebook £4.99, €5.99, US$6.99
Published by Sparkling Books
When Anthony Rathe Investigates
The original Anthony Rathe stories of courtroom criminal cases appeared on American public radio, syndicated by the late Jim French through his Imagination Theater. When Anthony Rathe Investigates continues where the radio stories finished.
Prosecuting criminal cases, barrister Anthony Rathe convinced a jury to imprison an innocent man, who subsequently took his own life. Horrified at his mistake, Rathe abandons his glittering legal career, vowing to truly serve justice. A series of cases come his way.
These four stories, linked by how Rathe is racked with guilt over the suicide, explore crime from a different angle: determination to find the truth, no matter how inconvenient to the investigating officer, Inspector Cook. The reader is invited to join Rathe in solving these complex mysteries.
The first story, Burial for the Dead, exposes sordid family history that led to a murder in a church. In A Question of Proof, Inspector Cook needs Rathe to unravel an underworld murder; in Ties that Bind Rathe solves a crime of passion; and in The Quick and the Dead, modern slavery intrudes into his own personal life.
Anthony Rathe is a disillusioned former lawyer having left the bar because an innocent young man called Marsden, whom he prosecuted, committed suicide in gaol. As a result, haunted by guilt and shame, Rathe finds himself investigating crimes of passion where injustice is evident. ‘The Marsden disgrace’, as Rathe views the matter, is a connecting thread through the four stories in this excellent collection as he attempts to atone for his perceived sin.
Anthony Rathe is a fascinating character who works in a solitary fashion down the narrow line between the police and the legal system. He is a wonderfully incongruous mix of the stoical and passionate. Here we have a character who is intriguing and pleasingly different from the run of the mill sleuths who people modern crime fiction. Indeed his heritage is in the tradition of the unusual golden age detective who is neither a tired policeman nor the risibly eccentric private detective. He is a very welcome addition to the raft of modern crime solvers.
In this collection we have a quartet of stories in which Rathe solves a series of murders. I think of these as cabinet detective tales in that the mysteries are tightly plotted and cunning, while involving only a small cast of players, which works well with Booth’s rich and intense storytelling style. He is particularly good with atmosphere and Rathe’s internal monologues. The characters are expertly drawn and psychologically accurate. While at times we are in Agatha Christie whodunit territory with the plots which challenge the reader to spot the culprit before the denouement, the literary quality of the writing adds an elegant and realistic patina to the narratives.
One of the added pleasures of these stories is the growing uneasy relationship Rathe has with the police detective Inspector Terry Cook, a belligerent but very human copper who tolerates rather than accepts Rathe’s interference in his cases. Indeed on occasion he sometimes seeks his help, albeit begrudgingly. The two men rub each other up the wrong way most of the time, but Booth subtly reveals that there is a respect growing between them. It’s an engaging double act.
Anthony Rathe is a new star on the crime fiction stage and this reviewer wants more, please.
David Stuart Davies
This had a perfect balance of deduction and soul searching to make the main character compelling. The mysteries were well written with refreshing style.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and marvelled at both its pace and great character in Anthony Rathe with its intriguing twists and turns in four great imaginative tales.
Four stories focus on the quest for truth and justice, no matter how inconvenient. To build up trust and tension Rathe's private investigations are contrasted to Inspector Cook. The stories read like a classic crime story on TV, concise, and conversations to look into the investigator's line of thought to solve the whodunnit puzzle.
Henk-Jan van der Klis
This gripping collection of detective stories is an excellent blend of contemporary and traditional crime drama. Each story is tightly plotted, exciting, and each with a satisfying twist at the end. There is a variety to the stories, ranging from dark secrets being exposed to genuinely tragic family secrets coming to light.
But the real success of these stories are the two main characters and their relationship. Rathe is a fascinating and original character, a troubled man trying to make sense of his life in the wake of a tragedy which still haunts him. Contrasted with Rathe’s private quest for redemption is Inspector Cook, a man with his own troubles, trying to come to terms with the violence he sees in his everyday life in the best way he can.
The contrast between the two of them is set off against their mutual desire to find the truth and it forms the basis of an uneasy alliance. It is their uncertain partnership which sets these stories aside. It is not the usual detective duo combination and this amiable hostility between them is a welcome change. Rathe and Cook are wary of each other but what these stories show so well is the slow building of trust and respect between them as they investigate the crimes at the centre of these four excellent stories. A sequel can’t come soon enough.
This was not my usual read but I enjoyed it. I liked the character Rathe very much. This felt more like a gentlemanly approach to crime detection. The fact that Rathe was trying almost to redeem himself from his previous behaviour made him even more appealing. Each case was self contained and fairly succinct. I enjoyed the change in pace from more grisly stories.
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