The Line Up (1934) by Helen Reilly

(6/10 stars)

“Telegraph Bureau? Inspector McKee. Homicide. Timothy Arden, Hotel Grantham, Fifth Avenue off the Square, Apartment Thirteen A.”

That was all. It was enough. In that long room at the top of Police Headquarters, Operative Eighteen, a green eyeshade tilted over his forehead, repeated the same message over and and over and over again. To the commissioner himself, the borough commander, the deputy chief inspector, the precinct, the district attorney’s office, stenographers, fingerprint men, photographers, in a voice as empty as a train announcer’s: “Homicide, Timothy Arden…” The New York police had been presented with another case.

There is nothing surprising about Timothy Arden’s death. After all, he was an elderly man with a bad heart. Still, Inspector Christopher McKee finds it strange that Arden should die just as the New York City police are about to ask him about a $10,000 check, bearing his signature, that was presented by a man who fled the bank the moment he was questioned. Strange that Arden’s children should be in such a hurry to cremate their father. And, strangest of all, why Arden, a nonsmoker, would have four cigarette butts hidden in his bedroom—all different brands. In fact, nothing seems quite right with this household. McKee is starting to think that where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

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Compartment K (1955) by Helen Reilly

Helen Reilly Compartment K 01

6 stars (6/10 stars)

“There was something subtly wrong with the entire gathering. There were undertones she couldn’t evaluate, nuances she couldn’t put a firm finger on, that dissolved at a touch.”

It’s always awkward to run into an ex unexpectedly, especially when you’re with your new fiance. Rose O’Hara never saw any reason to tell Nils that she’d been engaged before. After Daniel Font jilted her to marry Candy, Rose never planned to see him again. She certainly didn’t expect him to burst into her train compartment, covered in blood.

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