By Miles Burton
First published: UK, Collins, 1949
The opening mystery is an actress who’s found dead, then half an hour later gives a press conference. I read this one a decade ago. I didn’t think much of it; I’d been told it was a tricky one, but either I solved it early on, or the ending fell flat. Inspector Arnold is, from memory, very slow.
Observer (Maurice Richardson, 7th August 1949): Nothing, in this department, is more gratifying than to find one of our sturdiest old-timers improving on his form. Multiple murders in the New Forest, with several corpses living and dead, among them stubborn Annabel’s great-aunt. Inspector Arnold and Desmond Merrion smoke out a nest of variegated fiends in Mr. Burton’s best for several books.
NY Times (Hillis Mills, 9th April 1950, 170w): An amateur detective named Desmond Merrion, who gives Scotland Yard a helping hand, is so unattractively cocksure that the reader could almost wish the villains would outwit him. There is also Annabel, the heroine, who is such a confused busybody of a girl that there is not much pleasure in seeing her finally get her inheritance. None the less, it is a fine, intricate puzzle.
NY Herald Tribune Wkly Bk R (14th May 1950, 180w): The riddle is well worked out and entirely logical, but too many irrelevant characters and incidents obscure the action of the book as a whole.