The Derek Smith Omnibus

Derek Howe Smith
Derek Howe Smith. Locked Room International (www.lockedroominternational.com), $29.99 (620p) ISBN 9781499243895
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One of the most intelligent and crafty impossible murder novels of all time, Whistle Up the Devil (1953), headlines this collection, which includes two other novels never before published in the U.S. In a classic John Dickson Carr setup, a family curse appears to claim the life of Roger Querrin at his family home outside London. Despite following precautions to guard against the malevolent force that's reported to have killed Querrins for generations, Roger is stabbed to death in a locked room. An engaging amateur sleuth, Algys Lawrence, strives to unravel this baffler. Lawrence also appears in Come to Paddington Fair, which features a clever murder committed in plain sight on a London stage during a performance. Smith's contribution to the Sexton Blake series, Model for Murder, isn't quite as good, but that's only in comparison with the other two. Superior plotting combined with creepy atmospherics should give Smith (1926-2002) the audience of Golden Age fans he's long deserved. (Aug.)
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