This book started out very slow. It seemed to take forever to get to the interesting action attributed to her by the Wikipedia blurb paraphrased above. I really think Gilbert could have cut to the chase just a little bit sooner. She may have been trying to build up atmosphere, but I don't think it was very effective. But once Arthur Crook came on the scene, the writing was lively and, for the most part, much more enjoyable. Crook is a likable, rogue of lawyer who cheerfully says that he doesn't mind who he sets up as the murderer--provided he can get his client off. But in the end he doesn't accept just anyone--he hands the police the culprit on a silver platter. Gilbert's best bits are the scenes and dialogue involving Crook. She obviously enjoyed her lawyer-cum-amateur-detective.
One of the major draw-backs of this story is the lack of suspects. If you accept at face value that Crook is correct and his client is innocent, then there are few players left on the field. It doesn't take much to figure out that the murderer must be one of two people and it's a short leap to the final verdict. A few more red herrings would have gone a long way towards making this a more interesting puzzle. Two and a half stars--primarily for the character of Arthur Crook and the scenes where he takes the starring role.
Well, anyway, the vintage cover is super-cool!
Yes, I love those vintage, pocket-size editions. I actually own this one!
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