Title: The Tormentors (Chief Inspector Littlejohn #38)
Author: George Bellairs
First published on 1 January, 1962; Republished by Agora Books on 9 January 2018
Genre: Mystery and Thrillers
When an elderly man is found violently stabbed in a small town on the Isle of Man, all fingers point to a local boy. The accused claims he is innocent – just like all the ‘wrongly’ accused do. But tension is rising in the island. The victim was a well-known resident and a member of a very distinguished family who are keen to see quick justice.
Inspector Littlejohn and his wife Letty are at the Grenaby, spending a quiet time with Archdeacon of Man, Reverend Kinrade. Inspector Knell of the Douglas CID asks Littlejohn to help him in solving this mysterious case.
I usually write lengthy reviews when it is a Bellairs novel but I am making an exception here. Well, I really did not like the story – it was boring! The story started on a interesting note. A notorious petty thief named Alf is on his way to the Isle of Man. The Manx police have set up a check-point at the port – if someone is found wearing the wrong jacket or looks suspicious, they are not allowed to set foot on the island. Alf befriends Sid on the ferry. When they get arrive at their destination, Sid tells the police Alf is with him.
Hours later, Sid (who is at his aunt’s place) is visited by the Manx police. He’s taken to the police station and questioned – his whereabouts since he arrived on the island and, about Alf and how they know each other. Sid soon learns Alf has coshed and stabbed John Charles Croake, a notable resident of the island.
Both Alf and Sid deny they killed the old man. Inspector Knell asks Littlejohn for help. As Littlejohn starts to dig into the victim’s family matters, he learns that things aren’t as they seem to be. When someone else is found dead at John Croake’s Wake, suspicions fall on Croake’s family.
The story took a whole new direction when Littlejohn starts digging into the victim’s past. In brief, it was a drag – ugh, I was like, can we please move ahead and reveal the perp? This is one of the (rarest) Littlejohn series that I absolutely did not enjoy reading. Out of the 35+ books I have read so far, there have been only two (including this one) which has received a low rating from me.
Letty involves herself in the case – unfortunately, this did not help in getting me to like the story.
If you are like me and looking to complete the series, then go ahead and give this book a read. Maybe you will like it better than I did. If you are new to Littlejohn series, choose one of the earlier books.