As I read the beginning of this book, I began to think that this time we had a little gem from Carolyn Wells. Not so. Once more the prolific author gives us a good read but not a first class one. Reading a biographical sketch suggested to me, that as a ranking author of magazine serials, poetry, novels of various sorts and mysteries (61 in the Fleming Stone Detective series, alone), she was simply too busy to rework the material so as to add depth to her stories. Too bad. Nevertheless, as they stand, and this is a good example, they have interesting plots, good though sketchily developed characters, a light but professional text, which keep them entertaining, if sometimes frustrating for the reader who realizes he/she is getting an extended short story.
In this one, the wealthy bachelor uncle of the male part of a juvenile love pair, is found murdered in the lobby of the apartment hotel in which he lives with his aunt and she with her mother. The latter females have been seemingly mortal enemies for decades. The uncle of the potential groom is found dead in the lobby, leaving a vital clue, a note scribbled as he died: 'women did it' (or words to that effect). There seems no be doubt in the minds of the investigators that the note is in the hand of the victim and that, therefore, some women did it.
We get a substantial segment on the police investigation of the case, without learning what the solution to the mystery is: only with the arrival of the professional private investigator and his able young female associate, is there a surprise ending, the solution of the crime.
I found the police investigation verging on the tedious and the private investigators' activities rather cursory, with the solution not quite the sparkling display it might have been, On the whole, however, this 1920 book is quite competitive with contemporary Kindle cozy mysteries in entertainment value. Take a chance on it. It is free.
This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.
About the Author
Carolyn Wells, June 18, 1862 - March 26, 1942 was an American writer and poet. She was best known for her books of poetry and humor until around 1910 she read one of Anna Katherine Green's mysteries and took up the genre. Many of her mysteries featured the detective Fleming Stone. She was married to Hadwin Houghton, heir to the Houghton-Mifflin publishing company. She was a collector of poetry by other authors, and, upon her death, she bequeathed her collection of the works of Walt Witman to the Library of Congress.