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Subject: Murder

(The sixth book in the Inspector Harry Charlton series)
A novel by

Subject-Murder (1945) is a detective novel by Clifford Witting based on his personal experience as a bombardier in an anti-aircraft detachment. Peter Bradfield, the detective constable colleague of series character Inspector Charlton, is the narrator. We follow him from basic training in Wales to his various transfers to other posts eventually landing him in an anti-aircraft detachment between the villages of Etchworth and Sheep, and coincidentally just outside of Lulverton where he and Charlton are based as policemen. The arch villain of the story, Battery Sgt. Major Yule - 'Cruel Yule' to the bombardiers he oversees - is sadistic, manipulative and narcissistic. Throughout the novel he proves to be one of the most odious villains in the entire genre. When we first meet him through the eyes of Johnny Fieldhouse, Yule is seated at a desk in his office taunting a mouse he has trapped under a drinking glass. This brief encounter will put Fieldhouse on Yule's list of marked men for the remainder of the book, and a gruesome murder follows before long. Clues and red herrings are abundant as in any of the best examples of the fair play detective novel. Charlton is allowed to team up with his old colleague Bradfield and together they uncover such intriguing evidence as unusual knots in the rope and dog leash used to tie up the murder victim, a book on torture practices of the Spanish inquisition that has certain passages bracketed, and the double life of a mysterious soldier named Alexander Templeton. Witting once again proves he has the stuff of a high ranking officer of detective novel plotting.

Genre: Mystery

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