Duchlan Castle is a gloomy, forbidding place in the Scottish Highlands. Late one night the body of Mary Gregor, sister of the laird of Duchlan, is found in the castle. She has been stabbed to death in her bedroom - but the room is locked from within and the windows are barred.Read more...
Duchlan Castle is a gloomy, forbidding place in the Scottish Highlands. Late one night the body of Mary Gregor, sister of the laird of Duchlan, is found in the castle. She has been stabbed to death in her bedroom - but the room is locked from within and the windows are barred. The only tiny clue to the culprit is a silver fish's scale, left on the floor next to Mary's body.
Inspector Dundas is dispatched to Duchlan to investigate the case. The Gregor family and their servants are quick - perhaps too quick - to explain that Mary was a kind and charitable woman. Dundas uncovers a more complex truth, and the cruel character of the dead woman continues to pervade the house after her death. Soon further deaths, equally impossible, occur, and the atmosphere grows ever darker. Superstitious locals believe that fish creatures from the nearby waters are responsible; but luckily for Inspector Dundas, the gifted amateur sleuth Eustace Hailey is on the scene, and unravels a more logical solution to this most fiendish of plots.
Anthony Wynne wrote some of the best locked-room mysteries from the golden age of British crime fiction. This cunningly plotted novel - one of Wynne's finest - has never been reprinted since 1931, and is long overdue for rediscovery.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-11-30
- Reviewer: Staff
First published in 1931, this reissue in the British Library crime classics series brings back what some consider a more innocent era, when psychology seemed simpler and no one ever used terms like sociopath or psychopath. In his heyday, Wynne (18821963) was considered to be the master of locked-room mysteries, and he acquits himself well in this Dr. Eustace Hailey mystery. Hailey travels to a castle in the Scottish Highlands to investigate the demise of Miss Mary Gregor, sister to the laird. She has been found stabbed to death in her locked bedroom. Miss Gregor at first is described as pious and good. But it soon becomes clear that pious can be interpreted as sanctimonious and goodness can serve as a shield for nastier intentions. Others follow her to the grave in equally inexplicable circumstances. Those who like black-and-white films, in which ladies and gentlemen dress for dinner and everyone has frightfully good manners, are in for a treat. (Feb.)