Rocket to the Morgue (H. H. Holmes)

By Anthony Boucher

First published: US, Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1942

Blurb (US)

Boucher - Rocket to the Morgue.JPG
Source: Facsimile Dust Jackets LLC

Almost anyone could have entered Hilary Foulkes’ study and stabbed him, but there was no way Lieutenant Marshall could find for the attacker to have left.  The lieutenant of the Los Angeles Homicide Squad could see no reason why locked-room puzzles should pursue him.  (There was an excellent reason, but he was not to discorve that until later.)  Meanwhile, he found himself involved with perhaps the screwiest bunch of people he had ever met: the boys who write scientifiction – those stories dealing with time machines, rockets to the moon and interstellar space.

They were not much help, these writers.  Their considered opinions of how to escape from a locked room included such surrealist methods as going out through the fourth dimension.  Marshall was grateful for the common sense and quick wits of Sister Ursula, who had helped him once before.

The detective team of NINE TIMES NINE – a Lieutenant of Homicide and a nun – carry on here to greater glory in another locked-room puzzle with a delightful cast of characters and detection of a high grade.

My review

Tale of a series of attacks on the obnoxious son of a famous writer’ is amusingly written, but a weak detective story. The plot is both improbable and obvious, with an absence of adequate candidates for the rôle of murderer and a rather silly (and very easy to guess) method.