The Case of Wallingford’s Tiger

My previous review over six years ago…


Until today, I didn’t know that my favourite authors (Robert Aickman and Elizabeth Bowen) had both written a story about a wild tiger and the middle-class machinations of gentle mischief it causes in the old-fashioned English community of the delightful Just William or Jane Turpin stories of yore.

This is Aickman’s…


“…leaving the search after Wallingford and his tiger to the brand new police box recently set up alongside the best esteemed of Upperwood’s public houses.”

Here a tiger is brought back to the rural town of Upperwood it seems by monied Wallingford thus creating romantic ambitions or underhand plots to disable the man’s smugness involving the RSPCA etc… Till the tiger is found dead and smelling…. With a crime suspected involving racial or perhaps liver-spotted (-striped?) repercussions? (Time for an early appearance of Dr Who to solve it?)


I have just read it again and in tune with the Insufficient Answer’s 42, this has the Whovian time paradoxes that I have since found within the Aickman fiction canon, as well as now perception of dubious man-eating by a man as well as by a tiger — obliquely, at least, part of the cannibalistic themes in that canon. Also the village’s attitude, even taking a fiancée from a fiancé, Aickman style, and perhaps the inhabitants of the village and their attitude to Wallingford puckishly parallel some readers’ attitude to Aickman himself and his work.

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