Monday, October 9, 2017

Night Walk: Review

Night Walk (1947) is the twelfth book to feature Elizabeth Daly's antiquarian book dealer and part-time sleuth, Henry Gamage. Gamage makes his way to the isolated village of Frazer's Mills when an old friend finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation. Garry Yates comes to the village in an effort to see his lady love on the sly. Rose Jenner's guardian doesn't like her to see strange young men--doesn't really like her meeting any young men at all, truth be told. But Yates has made her acquaintance and the two have fallen in love. He has the chance to be in the area, so he takes it. 

He just happens to arrive on the very night that a mysterious prowler roams through the village, scaring various inhabitants. The prowler moves from Edgewood, a rather exclusive sanitarium, where s/he rattles Mrs. Norbury's door handle to trying to enter the Public Library where Hattie Bluett is working late on a donation of books, to leaving a fire axe outside the room that Yates is given at a local rooming house. But the prowler isn't finished. Because someone has entered the Carringtons' stately home (home of Rose Jenner) and killed her elderly guardian. 

Yates is sure he'll be a suspect as soon as the police know he's Rose's suitor--a suitor who would have found no favor with old man Carrington. And even if he's lucky enough not to be suspected (he thinks he has an alibi), he still wants Gamage to get to the bottom of things for Rose's sake. Gamage goes undercover as an inmate of Edgewood (supposedly in need of recuperation from overwork) and soon he's following the footsteps of the prowler and tracking down clues. Appropriately enough, our bookish detective finds a vital clue in the local library and he's quite sure that prowler was no random maniac, but someone well-known to the deceased.

Gamage is a low-key detective who does his sleuthing primarily through conversation with the villagers and official help from local police (who have had a good word about him from his friends on the force in the city). A bit of reconstruction comes in handy as well. Daly offers up engaging characters and plays fair with her clues--making for an entertaining read. I particularly enjoyed the scenes in the library and the way she worked books into the plot.★★and 3/4.

[Finished on 10/3/17]
Fulfills the "Written Document" category on the Golden Vintage Scavenger Hunt card.

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