Quarrel with the Foe

Written by Mel Bradshaw
Review by Lorraine Gelly

Paul Shenstone returned to Toronto from the Great War and eventually rejoined the police force. He resolutely tried to forget his time in France in the trenches, but on the night Digby Watt was murdered, Paul was forced to revisit memories of a time he had put behind him. Watt was a wealthy man who owned many companies, one of which was an arms manufacturer during the war. Paul was present when one of his old schoolmates was mortally wounded by the explosion of a faulty shell manufactured by Watt’s company. The man who discovered Watt’s body, newspaperman Ivan MacAllister, was also present when the shell exploded. Ivan claimed that someone phoned him and told him to come quickly to Watt’s office. Thus he was the first to find the body.

I thought Paul was an interesting and well developed character; his war experiences had changed him immensely. The contrasts between police work then and now are enormous. The author paints a picture of 1920s life in Toronto, where speakeasies were everywhere and cops took the bus to crime scenes; very few officers had cars. Mr. Bradshaw is a longtime resident of the city, and his knowledge of its history is unquestioned.