Wednesday, March 20, 2013

R. Austin Freeman

My enthusiasm for continues as I discover many titles by R. Austin Freeman, all of them earlier than the one I quote from below—no doubt because later ones still have copyright issues. From an earlier post on this site about Freeman's books:
.... Most of these books, by R. Austin Freeman, were what was known as an "inverted" detective story: the book started with the crime from the criminal's point of view, and then you observed Dr. Thorndyke, as he inexorably moves toward discovering the criminal [although not always exposing him].
I'm reading Mr. Pottermack's Oversight, first published in 1930, and came across the following, reminding me that plot is not the only reason I find Freeman so enjoyable:
Temperamentally, Dr. John Thorndyke presented a peculiarity which, at the first glance, seemed to involve a contradiction. He was an eminently friendly man; courteous, kindly and even genial in his intercourse with his fellow creatures. Nor was his suave, amicable manner in any way artificial or consciously assumed. To every man his attitude of mind was instinctively friendly; and if he did not suffer fools gladly, he could, on occasion endure them with almost inexhaustible patience.
And yet, with all his pleasant exterior and his really kindly nature, he was at heart a confirmed solitary. Of all company, his own thoughts were to him the most acceptable. After all, his case was not singular. To every intellectual man, solitude is not only a necessity, it is the condition to which his mental qualities are subject; and the man who cannot endure his own sole society has usually excellent reasons for his objection to it. (p. 105)
He is an introvert!