“Who stands to gain? That’s your question, and you know that nine times out of ten it’s the only question. Whose life’s going to be made endurable that isn’t endurable now?”
Eel Pie Island in the summer is a cheerful place, a little oasis in the middle of the Thames. Many day-trippers are reluctant to return to the hot streets of London as evening draws near, wishing they could stay on the island forever. One visitor will get her wish, in the worst possible way. As dawn breaks over the river, a gorgeous platinum blonde is found lying dead on shore, her silk pajamas still damp. Inspector Bull and his sidekick Mr. Pinkerton must discover the identity of this very chic corpse before another victim ends up dead in the water. Continue reading “The Eel Pie Murders (1933) by David Frome”
“I was frightened, all of a sudden. I could feel a pair of eyes raised in the dark, watching me. It was in my imagination, I suppose, because scientists say there’s no such thing as thought transference, but I had the creepy and rather terrifying feeling that there was something sinister there, and that those eyes I couldn’t see, fastened on me, were narrowed and sharply malevolent.”
Miss Letty Drayton left her home in Natchez, Mississippi, decades ago. She never planned to return at all, let alone bring a gaggle of garden-club ladies with her. Yet that’s exactly what’s happened, due to the club president’s unshakable desire to view the famous gardens of Natchez. Miss Letty never could stand up for herself.
When Louise Gould comes to stay at the Drayton mansion, she winds up with more questions than answers about her friend’s past. Why is Letty living an impoverished life in Maryland when she clearly comes from wealth? What is the source of the bad blood between the Draytons and their next-door neighbors, the Heywoods? And is that shadowy figure in the night a ghost, or a more human danger? Continue reading “Murder with Southern Hospitality (1942) by Leslie Ford”
“Aunt is a little difficult right now. It’s almost as if she thinks I had murdered people.”
When Scotland Yard receives a letter warning of an impending murder, it seems like a prank. Still, Inspector Humphrey Bull drops by Caithness Road just to be sure. He is shocked to learn that bank clerk Lawrence Sprague has just died of tetanus, despite not having a mark on him that could have caused such an infection. Lawrence’s two lovely sisters are inconsolable—especially since their father died mysteriously a short time before. Regardless of his attraction to Margaret Sprague, Inspector Bull can’t shake the feeling that something strange is happening in Hammersmith.
Luckily, the inspector has a secret weapon. His shy, rabbity landlord Evan Pinkerton has a gift for seeing into the dark hearts of men, all without leaving his drab suburban boarding house. Continue reading “The Hammersmith Murders (1930) by David Frome”
“I’m going to get even with all these people,” she said quietly. “So that you won’t even find a daisy where they’ve been.”
“If there’s anything I can do to stop you, let me know, won’t you?” I asked.
“Nobody can stop me, darling. I’ve found my life’s work.”
Folly is an island just south of Charleston and the Ashley River plantations where Road to Folly takes place. Folly is also a foolish mistake, and all the characters are rushing headlong down that road.
When spoiled heiress Phyllis Lattimer married gentleman farmer Rusty, she expected more of a gentleman and less of a farmer. With her third marriage on the rocks, Phyllis summons her friend Diane Baker to help her through the crisis.
It’s odd what Charleston society will and won’t talk about. Everyone knows that Rusty is in love with Jennifer Reid, that Jennifer has been going around with Phyllis’s ex-husband Bradley Porter, and that Jennifer’s brother killed their father all those years ago. Yet no one discusses these things openly, until Phyllis tears through their lives on a mission of vengeance.
Everyone also knows that there is no divorce in the state, repeatedly telling Diane, “Death is the only release from marriage in South Carolina.” And they’re dead right.
Continue reading “Road to Folly (1940) by Leslie Ford”