The Golden Box (1942) by Frances Crane

The Golden Box by Frances Crane

6 stars (6/10 stars)

“What can we do? All we’ve got is the knowledge in our minds and hearts that it was murder. But what else? There isn’t anything. It’s one of those perfect crimes.”

After a close brush with love and murder, Jean Holly is eager to retreat to a simpler life back in her hometown. What she finds is a community on the brink of war. It is November of 1941, and tiny Elm Hill, Illinois, is bracing itself for the country’s possible entry into World War II. Meanwhile, wealthy matriarch Claribel Fabian Lake is determined to seize control once and for all—not only of Elm Hill, but also of her three daughters.

Mrs. Lake’s sudden death is ascribed to natural causes. But Jean isn’t so sure, especially when rumors circulate that the dead woman was found clutching a golden box, a box which has now vanished. Even more disconcerting, her old flame, private investigator Pat Abbott, is in town. It’s hard to know what has Jean more flustered: the murder next door, or the handsome detective investigating it. Continue reading “The Golden Box (1942) by Frances Crane”

The Mystery at Orchard House (1946) by Joan Coggin

The Mystery at Orchard House by Joan Coggin

6 stars (6/10 stars)

“We have been recommended this hotel as very quiet,” went on Miss Popham.

Lupin was about to reply that it was fairly quiet except for a few burglaries, elopements, fires, and attempted murders, but on second thoughts decided silence would be best.

Lady Lupin Hastings is in need of a long rest following a bout with influenza. Her friend Diana’s guest house seems like the perfect place to recuperate. Instead of rest and relaxation, however, Lupin finds herself at the center of a crime wave that threatens Diana’s business—and the guests’ lives. Will the sweetly daffy Lupin be able to keep the hotel running while dealing with artistic temperaments, broken romances, and any number of suspicious “accidents”? Continue reading “The Mystery at Orchard House (1946) by Joan Coggin”

The Black Stocking (1946) by Constance and Gwenyth Little

The Black Stocking by Constance and Gwenyth Little

6 stars (6/10 stars)

“John, could you take over this afternoon? I simply must get out and clear up this trouble. That insane girl is running around loose somewhere and my father’s body has disappeared.”

All Irene Hastings wants is a week’s vacation. Instead, she’s mistaken for an escaped lunatic and locked up in a hospital that’s so crowded she has to share a bedroom with a handsome young doctor. It soon becomes clear that crazy things are going on there. From the disappearing corpse to the missing will to the headless nurse, Irene finds this hospital hazardous to her health. Continue reading “The Black Stocking (1946) by Constance and Gwenyth Little”

The Puzzle of the Pepper Tree (1933) by Stuart Palmer

The Puzzle of the Pepper Tree by Stuart Palmer

7 Stars (7/10 stars)

“Young man, I have had the good or bad fortune to have been in contact with several notorious and unsavory cases of homicide during the past two years. Perhaps the poor fellow over there looks like just another case of heart failure to you, but I’m getting so I can detect the very smell of murder.”

A lean forefinger wagged in O’Rourke’s face, and Miss Withers pronounced solemnly, “I can smell murder now!”

The man in brown never intended to take the seaplane to Catalina, but after missing the steamer, he has no choice. Anyway, the flight is only twenty minutes. Even a nervous flyer can handle that.

Suddenly, turbulence throws the man into a panic. “I’m dying,” he cries. “I don’t want to die!” Everyone thinks it’s a case of nerves, but by the time the Dragonfly lands, it carries eight living passengers and one corpse. The man in brown “hadn’t wanted to die, but he was dead.” Continue reading “The Puzzle of the Pepper Tree (1933) by Stuart Palmer”