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R. Austin Freeman

R. Austin Freeman

(London: 11th April 1862 – Gravesend, Kent: 28th September 1943)

Dr. Richard Austin Freeman was a British physician (a colonial surgeon practicing in the Gold Coast - now Ghana) and author. He was forced by ill health to retire from practice in 1904 and became an author.

He was the creator of the inverted detective story in 1912 with The Case of Oskar Brodski. In the classic detective story, not all of the details of the perpetrator of the crime are revealed until the story's climax. The reader is for the most part wondering who the perpetrator is and that is why these types of detective stories are also called "whodunit". In an inverted detective story, the crime is shown or described at the beginning often including the identity of the perpetrator. The bulk of the story describes the detective's attempt to solve the mystery. That is why they are sometimes referred to as "howdunit" or a "howcatchem".

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R. Austin Freeman
The Aluminum Dagger by R. Austin Freeman

Engineers will like the resolution of this locked room mystery. Dr. John Evelyn Thorndyke, a former medical doctor who became a forensic investigator of crimes, has to deal with murder behind locked doors. The only clue he has is an aluminum dagger shoved into the back of the victim.

One of the unique aspects of detective stories by R. Austin Freeman is that Freeman personally tested the methods described in his stories. The top floor of his house was a workshop and laboratory where he could try out and investigate sometimes arcane scientific knowledge from areas such as tropical medicine,...

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