By Cyril Hare
First published: UK, Faber & Faber, 1949; US, Little, Brown, 1950, as The Wind Blows Death
While not the all-conquering masterpiece Barzun and Taylor believe it is (and how can one really trust the judgement of critics who don’t like Tenant for Death, Suicide Excepted or An English Murder?), there can be little doubt that this is an extremely logical and well-constructed detective story. The murder of a Polish violinist in a small provincial town is far from exciting, but there is great pleasure in seeing the unlikeable Insp. Trimble’s attempts to solve the case, and the unwilling Pettigrew’s solution, which very neatly ties together David Copperfield, Mozart, Henry VIII, and a question of tempo.
Times Literary Supplement (30th April 1949):
Having shown himself to be equally at home in legal circles and war-time ministries, Mr. Hare now proves that he knows a good deal about the workings of local musical societies and can describe their activities and the kind of people who make up their membership with all his customary conviction. It is during a concert given by the members of the Markhampton Orchestral Society in the City Hall that a guest player is found strangled in the artists’ room. The solution of the crime turns upon the identity of a clarinettist and it may be said at once that Mr. Hare, as always, gives his readers as many chances as Detective-Inspector Trimble, or his amateur assistant, Francis Pettigrew, and is scrupulously fair in giving the clues.