An incredibly bizarre, impossible crime distinguishes Halter’s whodunit set in 1930s London featuring brilliant criminologist Dr. Alan Twist and Scotland Yard’s Insp. Archibald Hurst. Hurst’s colleague, Det. Sgt. Simon Cunningham, receives an unusual message from his future father-in-law, Harold Vickers, who’s a bestselling mystery author specializing in locked-room puzzles. Vickers directs Simon to cancel any other plans and show up at his house for dinner without telling anyone, especially his fiancée, Valerie. When Simon arrives at the Vickers’ home, the writer’s wife, Diane, expresses ignorance about the invitation. After another guest arrives, Simon finds Vickers behind a locked door, slumped dead over a table set with food that has just been cooked, his face immersed in a frying pan, and his hand clutching a gun. Halter (The Picture from the Past) tosses in more murders and bizarre happenings before unveiling an answer that, while clever, isn’t his finest. (Feb.)
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