cover image Murder Has a Motive

Murder Has a Motive

Francis Duncan. Sourcebooks Landmark, $14.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-4926-5173-4

Originally published in the U.K. in 1947, the first mystery William Underhill wrote under the Duncan pseudonym introduces amateur sleuth Mordecai Tremaine, an unassuming retired tobacconist. When Tremaine arrives in Dalmering to visit his friends Paul and Jean Russell, they share the sad news that their friend Lydia Dare was stabbed to death the night before and ask him to find her killer. Lydia had been walking home after dining with Martin Vaughan, a man admittedly in love with her despite her engagement to another, and who was slated to portray a murderer in a local theatrical production of a play, Murder Has a Motive, which Lydia was stage-managing. Earlier that evening, she had shared her fear that the outwardly beautiful community concealed “something rotten.” Tremaine’s closest friend at Scotland Yard, Jonathan Boyce, arrives on the scene in time to assist. The self-effacing Tremaine is a plausibly astute detective who diligently works through Dalmering’s secrets. Fans of classic fair-play whodunits set in small English villages will find this just their cup of tea. [em](Jan.) [/em]