Tuesday, August 13, 2019

QPQ Micro reviews

QPQ is my name for the ever shifting team of mystery writers behind the names Q. Patrick, Patrick Quentin, and Jonathan Stagge. I will collect here some brief reviews of mysteries by QPQ under various names.  Ratings like grades, A to D.

I will update as I read more. 
Latest: Murder By Prescription Oct 2022, The Scarlet Circle May 2022 

S.S. Murder Q. Patrick. An amusing tale on board ship in the form of a diary. A-

Puzzle For Fools Patrick Quentin. The first Peter Duluth. Takes place in a psychiatric ward. The weakest book so far. C

Puzzle For Puppets A later Duluth, like a screwball comedy. The solution is obvious but it’s the most fun of the books so far. A-

Puzzle for Pilgrims A very strange Duluth, more a chronicle of characters in an emotional pressure cooker than a mystery. Takes place in Mexico. A-

The Grindle Nightmare Another Q. Patrick, again very strange. Reactions vary; I liked it but thought the solution a let down. B

Return To The Scene Q. Patrick. A florid melodrama with a good mystery B+

My Son The Murderer Patrick Quentin. This is a re write of Return to the Scene! B+

Death's Old Sweet Song Stagge.  A variation on the nursery rhyme series of murders. A different feel than either QP or PQ. B+

Puzzle For Fiends Patrick Quentin. Peter Duluth has amnesia. Beautiful women tell him he is really Gordy Friend.  More thriller than mystery. A bit over the top but very vividly told. B+ 

Family Secrets Patrick Quentin. QPQ are always doing something different. In some of the Duluth books for instance the person who solves the murder is a surprise. Here they — actually he, it’s by Wheeler alone — give us a 50s noir pulp pot-boiler transferred to the Manhattan elite. Not the most satisfactory of their books to me, but it has its points and as ever the construction is skillful and the writing a cut above most mysteries. B-

The Scarlet Circle, Stagge. Dr Westlake finds himself on vacation in a New England seaside village, with his daughter Dawn in tow. Murders ensue! Not a difficult mystery to solve but very atmospheric and fast moving. B.

Murder By Prescription, Stagge. Dr Westlake finds himself suspected of several murders, mercy killings. But there is a more dastardly plot afoot! Once again pretty easy to solve but atmospheric and smoothly written. The good doctor is a bit clueless on a couple of occasions. Dawn has a birthday. B-


  1. Very useful. I have not read any of those, but have read three other. I very much liked The Scarlet Circle by Stagge. A straight A for me. Death and the Sweet Girls (Stagge) and Death and the Maiden (Q. Patrick) were definitely not perfect, but very good on balance. A- for me.

  2. Ken - thanks for the link as I wasn't aware you had a blog so will look back at your postings. Like Christophe, I would give The Scarlet Circle a solid A but broadly agree with the rest of your ratings. There are other QPQ titles to which you can look forward such as Cottage Sinister (early and imperfect QPQ but shows their potential) as well as the wonderfully classic, Death and the Maiden.