Checkmate to Murder

E.C.R. Lorac. Poisoned Pen, $14.99 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-4642-1509-4
Set in WWII London, this excellent fair-play mystery from Lorac (1894–1958) opens on a dramatic note. One evening, artist Bruce Manaton is in his studio painting the portrait of an actor while two other men, a civil servant and a government chemist, are playing chess. Shortly after Manaton’s sister pops outside briefly to make sure that blackout precautions have been observed, Special Constable Lewis Verraby, who has arrested Canadian soldier Neil Folliner for murder, intrudes on the quartet. After noticing the front door of the building next to the studio open, Verraby went inside and found Folliner near the corpse of the soldier’s great-uncle, Albert, who’d been shot in the head. Folliner insists that Albert was already dead when he arrived. Scotland Yard’s Chief Insp. Robert Macdonald, Lorac’s series sleuth, looks beyond the obvious—that Folliner is guilty—at the possible motives of the others on the scene, including Verraby. The astute Macdonald’s interrogations and deductions lead to a satisfying resolution. The characters are all well-delineated, and the clues artfully hidden. First published in 1944, this British Library Crime Classic more than deserves that status. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 11/30/2020
Release date: 02/23/2021
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Book - 978-1-4642-1511-7
Book - 978-1-4642-1510-0
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