Death Leaves No Card (Miles Burton)

By Miles Burton

First published: UK, Collins, 1939

Inspector Arnold solves a locked room murder.  More mechanical than a John Dickson Carr, in both method and execution, but entertaining.

Blurb (UK)

When death pays a call he generally leaves a card behind…even if it sometimes takes a pathologist to find it.  But on the morning that he visited the bathroom at Forstal Farm, he did it incognito.  It took a man with a crowbar to break down the bathroom door, and there on the floor was Basil Maplewood, naked, with one foot still hanging over the edge of the bath.  Basil was only twenty-one, and in the very pink of health, but the post-mortem didn’t help much…no violence, no sign of poison.  Here is a mystery in a thousand, and one that almost—but not quite—threw dust in the eyes of Inspector Arnold and his colleagues.

Contemporary reviews

Times Literary Supplement (Maurice Percy Ashley, 18th February 1939): Mr. Miles Burton, like Mr. Bush [in The Case of the Green Felt Hat], is a writer who, year in and year out, can be relied upon to supply an entertaining problem in detection.  In Death Leaves No Card he takes what is becoming a popular form of fictitious murder and gives it a novel twist.  Basil Maplewood, who is staying alone with his uncle in a country cottage, is found shocked to death in the bathroom, killed just as he was entering his bath.  But there is no electricity in the house which could have been used to convey an electric shock, no telephone, light or wireless set.  The uncle, who has no alibi, is the obvious suspect.  Mr. Burton has wisely left his amateur detective, Desmond Merrion, in bed with influenza and given Inspector Arnold a chance to see what he can do off his own bat.  He starts a little slowly but in the end gets his man.  The more experienced reader may easily keep pace with him or even run ahead, but this need not detract from a thoroughly sound narrative.