The Red Right Hand, by Joel Townsley Rogers: A Review

The Red Right Hand, by Joel Townsley Rogers (Carroll & Graf, 1997)

The Red Right Hand, by Joel Townsley Rogers (Carroll & Graf, 1997)

I can’t remember where I first heard of this book, nor exactly when I picked up a copy… several years ago, perhaps. But, having read Joel Townsley Rogers’ 1945 novel The Red Right Hand, I can’t think why it took me so long to start.

A twisted psychological tale disguises itself in a straightforward narrative and a fairly conventional murder story. A doctor, Harry Riddle, is caught up in the murder of a well-off man who has eloped with his lovely young bride. It seems as though the story should be straightforward, but the reader is repeatedly left wondering what? What did I just read?

But it is the writing which most distinguishes this story. It has been described as hallucinatory, even ghostly, and that is an accurate assessment. There is a dreaminess to the landscape that Rogers wrote, a disconnectedness from time and space. At the same time, there are certain hard, immutable facts. It is like a waking dream, one which confuses perception with hallucination, without pharmacological intervention.

And the result: a tale that is by turns confusing, obscure, and horrific, but remains gripping and suspenseful to the end. There is a twist at the ending, and it is unexpected and terrifying. This is a fantastic short book, and deserves a wider readership.

Originally reviewed 13 November 2012.

Find your copy of The Red Right Hand at (title links directly to search results).


About Bill Bibliomane

Reader and writer, collector and cataloguer. Amateur mineralogist, astronomer, numismatist, philatelist: I have too many hobbies. I'm somewhat compulsive when it comes to book shopping. Fortunately for my budget, there are no bookshops near to my home. Unfortunately, I've discovered the Internet. I started out reviewing books for my own amusement. Now I've decided to assemble them on my own site.
This entry was posted in Authors-Rogers Joel Townsley, Book Reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s