"A witty and tricky plot and a genuinely shocking conclusion."—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
A mystery dinner theater party thrown by local author with a taste "for rather gruesome humor" requires guests come dressed as infamous killers—Jack the Ripper, Dr. Crippen, and the like. Whatever could go wrong?
Know-it-all amateur criminologist Roger Sheringham settles in for an evening of beer, small talk, and analyzing his companions. Ena Stratton, the host's sister-in-law, catches his attention. Her erratic mood swings and loud, gossipy talk is winning her more than a few enemies amongst the guests. When she's found dead, it's clear that one of the partygoers helped her to an early grave.
Noticing a key detail that could implicate a friend in the crime, Sheringham decides to meddle with the scene and unwittingly makes himself a suspect.
Tightly paced and cleverly defying the conventions of the classic detective story, Anthony Berkeley's dark sense of humor and taste for the macabre drive this 1933 classic.
This edition includes an introduction by CWA Diamond Dagger and Edgar ® Award-winning author Martin Edwards.
About the Author
ANTHONY BERKELEY was a pen name of Anthony Berkeley Cox (1893–1971), one of the most important figures in the history of British crime fiction. Many of his novels feature the amateur criminologist Roger Sheringham. As well as being the author of many classic detective stories--including Malice Aforethought under his Frances Iles pseudonym--Berkeley was the founder of the prestigious Detection Club for the finest crime writers.
"Set in post-WWI England, this outstanding 1933 mystery from Berkeley (1893–1971) opens at “a murderer-and-victim party” outside London attended by amateur sleuth Roger Sheringham. Berkely adroitly plays on readers’ expectations of genre conventions with a witty and tricky plot and a genuinely shocking conclusion. The British Library Crime Classics series does golden age fans a great service with this reissue. " — Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"Berkeley games the conventions of golden-age whodunits yet again in this ghoulish bonbon first published in 1933...[and] makes his highly artificial plot consistently lively, amusing, and treasurable." — Kirkus Reviews