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Humbug on the Hudson

Chronologically, this short story immediately follows the opening book in the series, Always a Cold Deck. It was also written just after that book was completed, when I was still enjoying my initial wave of enthusiasm. Again, the action begins with a real event, a large fire in Glens Falls, New York. But from there, the story lapses into a series of farcical situations as Harry and his colleague, Ed Ketchum, try to solve the mystery of the arson. Not surprisingly, the solution involves an absurd bit of theatre, which in turn uncovers a murder and second mystery in need of solution.

The chapter titles all refer to various literary works of that period, or earlier in the 19th century. For instance, “A Day in Ten Bar-rooms” pokes fun at Ten Nights in a Bar-room (1854), a mawkish temperance novel that had become a target of ridicule by 1900. Unfortunately, few 21st century readers are likely to catch the allusions without referring to the crib sheet available through the links below.


There’s more on Humbug on the Hudson, including its availability, at the Harry Reese Mysteries site.

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