Murder in a Women’s Club: Death in the Dovecot by Q. Patrick (1932)

“She was one of those women who go through life demanding to see the manager, and it would be quite easy to imagine her uttering her useful formula to St. Peter before the gates of Heaven, should any of her papers prove to be out of order” (187)

This humour is the best thing about my first Q. Patrick book.

In the book, Inspector Boot reads a novel where the police is shown as incompetent vis a vis a brilliant amateur detective and he bristles. But Inspector Boot himself is shown just as dumb as the policeman in the novel that he reads. Out-of-depth at a women’s club where an old lady is found asphyxiated to death, it is the sarcastic supercilious denizens of the club who have the last laugh at Boot’s expense. Information is withheld, important pieces of evidence suppressed and the amateur detective coolly enters the scene of crime. I kept on hoping fervently that Boot will somehow be shown to hold the trump card. It was not to be.

The last line reveal also fell totally flat as it was evident right from the first chapter.

Not a great introduction to a writer (or should it be writers?) I have heard a lot about but I hope my second read: Puzzle for Fools turns out to be better. Fingers crossed.

Have you read the book? How did you find it?


First Line: Miss Deborah Entwistle wiped a few pink traces of strawberry ice-cream from her lips and folded her napkin pensively.

Alternate Title: Murder at the Women’s City Club

First Published: 1932

Pages: 298

Other Opinions: Pretty Sinister Books

7 thoughts on “Murder in a Women’s Club: Death in the Dovecot by Q. Patrick (1932)

  1. That’s a shame the book didn’t live up to its promise for you, Neeru. That’s so disappointing when it happens, isn’t it? I have to say, though, that I did like that quip you shared at the beginning. I know just the sort of woman that is; I’ve seen her many times…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This novel doesn’t sound like a hit (!) but I would have picked it up anyway as I recently bought several novels by this author (“A Puzzle For Fools”, “A Puzzle For Fiends”, and, “My Son Is A Murderer” – all under the name Patrick Quentin). I really enjoyed his mystery “A Turn of the Table” using the name Jonathan Stagge, and would love to find more of these Stagge mysteries featuring Dr. Hugh Westlake.( I always like discovering pseudonymous authors and finding the differences in the writing – I love everything by Ruth Rendell, but nothing by Barbara Vine! I look forward to reading the Puzzle novels by Patrick Quentin. Thanks for the review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Eden, welcome back. This novel has been praised so perhaps my own high expectations made the book seem flat. Don’t let my review put you off. I too am planning to read Puzzle for Fools. That’s a wonderful point you make about pseudonyms. I have never paid much attention to it but now I think I will. I have read both Ruth Rendell and Barbara Vine and liked them both though it is Rendell, I think, who sometimes has very cruel endings. I am been a little off-blog myself so was wondering whether you have started blogging again.


  3. High expectations can color our opinions of books. I try to set the bar low for most of the novels I read, but some disappoint me just the same. I met Ruth Rendell at a signing session at a BOUCHERCON. It was a slow time so Rendell talked to me for a few minutes. We discussed her novels and her upcoming projects. I did ask her who her favorite writer was and she said, “Henry James.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is very difficult George to curb one’s expectations so I give you full credit for setting the bar low. How nice to have met Ruth Rendell. Haven’t read much of Henry James except TURN OF THE SCREW which is an unforgettable classic. Next time I read her, I’ll try to focus on the reliability/ unreliability of her narrator.


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