By Miles Burton
First published: UK, Collins, 1946
It’s a locked room murder, but I was bored.
Sergeant Neatshead of the Aldershire Constabulary, stationed at the little village of Oswaldby, had been having rather a worrying week. As a rule crime in his province was limited to cyclists riding without lights after lighting-up time and an occasional family squabble. But during the previous week-end an unusual incident had occurred and seemed likely to remain unexplained. Farmer Britton of Gables Farm had turned his three horses out into a meadow some distance from the farm-house. On the Sunday morning his waggoner had found a horse lying on the ground with a knife driven up to the hilt in its body. The knife was of curious make; the blade, a strip of steel, had been brazed into a massive and heavy handle of polished brass on which had been stamped irregularly the letters MORT. The horse had recovered from its wound, but the incident was puzzling. And worse is to follow, for on the following Saturday the Hon. Mrs. Gwendolyn Cottington, a wealthy widow of sixty-five, is found dead in her own dining-room at the Vintage, stabbed in the same manner and with a similar knife. Inspector Arnold and his friend Desmond Merrion take a hand in the case, but it is through a clue provided by that very fine and feline character Belisarius that at last they get on the right track.