The Deep End

The Deep End – Fredric Brown (1953)

The Deep End is another of multi-genre writer Fredric Brown’s mystery novels. While his fun writing style and almost mandatory newspaper/reporter angle that seem to be in almost every one of his works is still evident here, I confess that this is one of his weaker novels.

A young boy is found dead at the low point of an amusement park roller coaster and a lowly newspaper reporter gets caught up in the mystery. It begins with a case of mistaken identity of the victim, but once that is cleared up a reporter assigned to write a short bio on the initial victim can’t let go of a few innocuous facts and investigates further. This leads to a full week vacation of surreptitious investigation. But the reporter’s assumption that the death was not a mere accident and that the boy initially assumed to be the deceased is in fact a cold-hearted killer is based on minute tid-bits and immense stretches of the imagination. And therein lies the fascination in the novel. The reader does not merely follow the clues along with the reporter, but also begins to question if he’s gone over the ‘deep end’ himself and that there was no murder at all (as the reporter himself begins to question at some point).

It’s still a fun read for fans of Brown (or those who’ve never read any of his stories), but not quite as action packed or mysterious as some of his other works.

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