Fate at the Fair (Miles Burton)

By Miles Burton

First published: UK, Collins, 1933

One of Burton’s rarest.  I’ve read it, and can’t remember much.  A run-of-the-mill early ’30s detective story.

Blurb (UK)

George’s Fair, in the county town of Middleford.  …  Brightly lit roundabouts grinding out a raucous tune…the shrill cries of cheap-jacks, the laughter of rustic maidens making merry carnival.  And then a police whistle sounding loud and clear above the din…  Two Red Cross men elbowing their way through the crowd.  In the midst of gaiety Death has struck mercilessly.  Mr. Miles Burton has selected a novel setting for Fate at the Fair.  One of his best stories.

Contemporary reviews

Times Literary Supplement (9th March 1933):

Desmond Merrion, on his way to visit an acquaintance, Drummond, stayed for one night at the market town of Middleford where, the annual St. George’s fair being held, he went to the fair-ground in the hope of being amused.  In the heart of the swarming crowd Drummond, of whose presence there Merrion was unaware, met his death through the subcutaneous administration of a rare drug.  The police found it difficult to decide whether the victim committed suicide or died at somebody’s hand, even perhaps Merrion’s; but eventually, when it was discovered that Drummond had a quantity of the drug of which the dose killed him in his possession, they agreed that he had taken his own life.  Merion, however, was not satisfied with their conclusions, and began on his own account investigations which involved one or two people who had slim motives and every opportunity.