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Death of Anton
December 1, 2017
Death of Anton British Library Crime Classics by Alan Melville Poisoned Pen Press Mystery & Thrillers Pub Date 05 Dec 2017
Alan Melville takes the readers under the big top in Death of Anton. In the world of acrobats, clowns and daredevil trainers, Carey’s Circus is uniquely successful. In fact their arrival in town is deceptively lacking the bang and flash of a traditional carnival. Deception is one of the main themes throughout as Inspector Minto struggles to determine who killed Anton the tiger trainer and subsequently tried to make it look like his Tigers had mauled him. Why would Carey kill the main attraction? Was it a jealous husband, or a rival for his position? Or is it related to the strange after dark activities on the circus grounds? Inspector Minto has his hands full and that is not even considering his sister’s prospective marriage. Another distinctive part of Death of Anton is that Minto’s brother, a priest, knows the identity of the killer but cannot say and Minto cannot get that from him.
Melville’s mysteries are entertaining, but without the substance that makes for a memorable story. His police officers are not particularly realistic. So long as you know this and accept it, you will have fun reading his books.
4 / 5
I received a copy of Death of Anton from the publisher and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
Seven Bengal tigers are the star attraction of Carey's Circus. Their trainer is the fearless Anton, whose work demands absolute fitness and the steadiest of nerves. When Anton is found lying dead in the tigers' cage, it seems that he has lost control and been mauled by the tigers—but Detective-Inspector Minto of Scotland Yard is not convinced.
Minto's investigations lead him deep into the circus world of tents and caravans, clowns and acrobats, human and animal performers. No one is above suspicion. Carey, the circus-owner with a secret to hide; Dodo, the clown whose costume is scratched as if by a claw; and Lorimer, the trapeze artist jealous of his flirtatious wife—all come under Minto's scrutiny as the mystery deepens.
This amusing and light-hearted novel from the golden age of British crime writing has long been neglected, and this new edition will help to restore Melville's reputation as an author of extremely entertaining detective fiction.