Sunday, October 22, 2017
The Sound of Murder: Review
When Sid and Minnie hear a loud noise from the back of their van, they think it’s the engine stalling. Hours later, Sid discovers a corpse…
Inspector Borges of the Barcelona police finds himself on a busman's holiday when he visits his good friend Sir Otto Graffham in London and a prominent businessman plunges out of his top floor apartment in the grand Termini building. He lands in the back of Sid Butterworth's lorry, but isn't found until Sid arrives home. Sid had been visiting his sister, Minnie who worked for Halber Corsair, the unfortunate business man. The building also houses the offices of many of the companies that Corsair controlled. Officially, the verdict has been brought in as an accident--why do builders put low windows in high-rise apartments anyway? But soon the gossip-mongers start in and the rumors start flying that Mrs. Corsair, who will benefit most handsomely from her husband's death, may have given him a shove.
Her nephew, Keith Antrim, wants to spare her any unpleasantness and enlists the aid of Sir Otto to clear her name and stop the rumors before they reach his aunt. Graffham doesn't see how they can possible stop people from talking, but his guest, Inspector Borges is interested in the case and asks to discreetly investigate. Graffham's headstrong niece, Anthea, insists on driving the inspector around and winds up up helping the investigation along. Their investigations soon reveal that it's possible that there was someone else in the Termini penthouse besides Corsair and his wife. Who coughed while Mrs. Corsair was preparing to go out to dinner and the theatre? And why didn't she see him?
They also found that several people other than Mrs. Corsair may have had means and motive to kill Halberd Corsair. It might have been Halberd's brother-in-law Colonel Summersby. Summersby had been denied an immediate loan desperately needed to pay off gambling debts. Was the colonel desperate enough to arrange for his wife to inherit the necessary sums from her brother. Or maybe Clair Summersby had taken matters into her own hands. Or perhaps Keith Antrim had decided to dispatch his uncle himself. Family aren't the only possible suspects. Corsair was pretty ruthless in his business management and was even in his last hours contemplating shutting down Julian Killigrew's literary magazine for lack of profits. But...for all that, is there any evidence against any of these?
Inspector Borges is a gentle, polite detective who lulls his witnesses and suspects into revealing more than they intend. He softly picks his way through the statements, picking up clues along the way that all point in one direction--to murder and a very clever murderer. Anthea is a little more bold--having made the acquaintance of Keith, she's decided that A. He's a very interesting man, indeed whom she wants to know better and B. That being the case, he couldn't possibly have murdered his uncle. Her main goal in helping Borges is to prove that point and she even goes undercover as a survey-taker to move the investigation along. A most engaging and entertaining mystery that is heavy on conversational detecting and light on the tracking of evidence--not that there isn't evidence to be found, but more clues are sprinkled in the interviews than strewn about waiting to be picked up. ★★★★
[Finished on 10/11/17]
Published in 1970, The Sound of Murder by John & Emery Bonett (joint pseudonym of John Hubert Arthur Coulson and Felicity Winifred Carter Coulson) fulfills the "Truck" category on the Silver Vintage Scavenger Hunt card.