This week I’m back with a murder mystery – and another British Library Crime Classic – after a run of more than a month without one! This time it’s an impossible murder in the a Highlands by Anthony Wynne.
The murdered lady of the title is Mary Gregor, the sister of the laird of Duchlan, who is found stabbed to death locked in her bedroom of the family castle. Our amateur sleuth is Dr Eustace Hailey, who is in the grand tradition of the Golden Age mystery, and who happens to be staying nearby when the body is discovered. Despite being told that the victim was a kind and charitable woman, he soon uncovers evidence that suggests the reverse and that the situation at the castle was not a happy one. In fact even after her death, Mary Gregor still seems to loom over the building – and then more deaths happen.
This is definitely one of the more fantastical of the BLCC’s I’ve read, with a strong vein of highland superstition and mysticism. In fact there was a while when I was wondering is the solution was going to involve the supernatural so impossible did it seem for anyone to have carried out the crime. But it does stick to the rules of the detective club – although the solution is quite something, it is just about plausible.
I bought my copy at the Book Conference second hand sale, but this is also available on Kindle and Kobo and is actually pretty bargainous at £1.99 as I write this, although it should be noted that the ebook edition isn’t a BLCC one (there are some of these where the paperback and ebook rights appear to have got separated) so I can’t vouch for the quality of the ebook version. And if you want more impossible/locked room mysteries, I have a post for that too.