Raspberry Jam by Carolyn Wells

Published in 1920
A Fleming Stone detective story

‘A wealthy businessman is found dead in the locked bedroom suite of his tenth floor Park Avenue apartment, no mark upon his body or visible cause of death. The only other people who had spent the night in the suite were his young wife and her elderly aunt. The wife had both motive and opportunity, but can she be guilty? Enter the famed detective, Fleming Stone, but the only clue he has is the aunt’s tale of seeing the dead man’s ghost, a ghost she not only saw, but heard, touched and smelled, and who tasted of . . . Raspberry Jam! The clue that discovers the criminal is one of the strangest in police annals. Raspberry Jam will hold you spellbound until the surprising finale.’

This locked room mystery did not hold me spellbound until the ending. I didn’t like any of the characters and Fleming Stone didn’t come into the story until over half way through. Then the amazing Stone didn’t even come up with the solution, his ‘boy’ assistant, Fibsy, did all the leg work and figuring out. He was the real star of the story.

The police detective, Shane, was obnoxious and in an interview with a friend of the suspect pretty much told her everything he knew about the case. What happened to keeping it close to the vest? And half of the story was spent on showing what a terrible temper Eunice Embury had, so we knew right away she didn’t do it, as Ms. Wells was trying to hard to make us think she did.

Eunice’s aged aunt Abby was staying with them and she was really hooked on psychics and seances, etc. She was sure she had a vision of Sanford as he left his body. Then there were the two friends who were childhood bosom buddies with Sanford and Eunice growing up. Both of them were in love with her too. Elliott was Sanford’s business partner and Hendricks was his opponent in a contest for president of the athletics club.

I don’t know this book just didn’t work for me. I was really looking forward to reading Carolyn Wells as she was a prolific writer, 170 books by 1937 and 70 of those were mysteries. Most of which are free in digital format in various places (Project Gutenberg and manybooks.net). Would I read anymore of her books? If I have nothing else available probably. They are quick easy reads and maybe I shouldn’t judge on just one book. She started off writing humor, poetry and children’s books and reportedly after reading an Anna Katherine Green mystery decided to write mystery herself. Maybe I should try one of her non-mystery novels! Check out Ms. Wells at Wikipedia here

This book counts for my letter R in this weeks Crime Fiction Alphabet over at Mysteries in Paradise! Stop over and check out what everyone is reading and maybe link up any crime books with R in the title or author’s name or character’s name that you’ve read!

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8 thoughts on “Raspberry Jam by Carolyn Wells

  1. It's just about impossible to enjoy a book if you don't like any of the characters, isn't it! I might give another of her books a go sometime though, just in case she wrote something better.

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  2. I had this problem with one book by Christianna Brand (Heads You Lose). It was a fast-paced book and the story was told well enough, but the characters were too shallow and I spent too much time thinking how much I did not like them. I just got the ability to read e-books, so maybe I will sample a different one of the Wells mysteries.

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