A review by robinwalter
The Orange Axe: An Anthony Bathurst Mystery, by Brian Flynn

lighthearted mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? N/A


A riveting and ingenious mystery, but the biggest mystery still remains my overall perception of Flynn.  Bathurst I'm clearer on, he's unlikeable but competent and thus tolerable. Flynn himself is more of a mixed bag. He can have characters say  genuinely droll things like this:
instantly all my sympathies have gone out to his charming wife. How it must have galled her to have made my friendship after her marriage and to be forced to toy with dreams of the might-have-been

but also insert utterly extraneous comments as a narrator that reveal misogyny which distracts me from the story. Both these examples are the 'narrator's voice' , not dialogue from a character, so it's reasonable to conclude they represent to at least some extent how Flynn himself felt

When he had assimilated the unpalatable truth that there were no rules in games when women played—

she was out of the car, had paid him and was on her way with a rapidity seldom found in similar conditions amongst the members of her sex.

Overall, the story itself triumphed, especially the taut climax. 4/5 is a testament to the way the mystery was constructed, although the very troubling ethical viewpoint toward vigilantism (which to his credit Bathurst did not share) was jarring. It was odd to see the 'vigilante' defend his plans and insist on their moral rightness without being challenged on his views by the Police Commisioner. That scene was one where Bathurst came out on the side of right, for once.