I often have mixed feelings about novels in which the hero has lost his memory. But the device works beautifully in this case. The matter-of-fact personality of the hero has a lot to do with it.
William Smith returns from a German concentration camp with no memory of who is is. His identity disc says William Smith, but when he checks into it, he finds that William Smith was a Cockney who worked in a tannery. Whereas he has an educated accent accent. And his tastes lead him to seek employment in a toyshop. William has a talent for carving and painting whimsical little wooden animals. They sell like hot cakes.
But someone somewhere keeps trying to kill the modest woodcarver. A Scotland Yard detective happens to witness one attempt. Sergeant Frank Abbott gets his favorite private eye, Miss Silver, involved in the case. Miss Silver's idiosyncrasies never fail to charm: her incessant knitting of children's socks, her Victorian parlor, her Edwardian hairstyle. And decades of working as a governess in many households have made her a shrewd judge of human nature.
Fortunately, William is loved as well as murderously hated. He courts a lovely young woman who takes a job in the toyshop. Katherine turns out to be a bit of a mystery herself.
The plot is complex and eventful. Although there's murder afoot, I never really worry about the outcome with Patricia Wentworth. Miss Silver always gets her killer. And in all the books I've read so far, my favorite characters survive to be happy. This is very satisfying.
In her heyday, Wentworth was as popular as Agatha Christie. The Case of William Smith appeared in 1950, but seems to belong to an earlier time. A plus for readers like me who love the Golden Age of detective fiction.
- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks; 1 edition (7 April 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0340689730
- ISBN-13: 978-0340689738
- Product Dimensions: 11 x 2.2 x 17.6 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 259 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 204,777 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)