Mr Pyke Period is obsessed with his family history and with social etiquette, on which he is writing a book. Currently he has Henry Cartell living with him and relations are strained on both sides. A lunch party ends acrimoniously after Connie Cartell - Henry's sister - brings her guests, her adopted niece and her niece's dubious boyfriend who seem not to know how to behave in polite company.
When Henry Cartell ends up dead in a ditch after a party at his ex-wife, Lady Desiree Bantling's house, suspicions fall on just about everyone in the neighbourhood. Roderick Alleyn is sent to investigate and finds a friend, Nicola, doing Mr Pyke Period's typing for him.
I enjoyed this well plotted mystery with its collection of eccentric and unpleasant characters though there are some pleasant characters too. It was nice to see an appearance by Agatha Troy - Roderick Alleyn's artist wife. I thought the complex family relationships were well done and there were plenty of red herrings and genuine clues to keep even the keenest reader guessing. If you enjoy classic crime stories then you can't beat Ngaio Marsh.
- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: St Martins Pr; Reprint edition (15 April 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312969082
- ISBN-13: 978-0312969080
- Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 1.6 x 17.1 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 141 g
- Customer Reviews: 23 customer ratings