cover image The Red Right Hand

The Red Right Hand

Joel Townsley Rogers. Penzler, $25.95 (264p) ISBN 978-1-61316-165-4

Surgeon Henry Riddle, the narrator of this virtuoso mix of terror and fair play from Rogers (1896–1984), is driving home to New York City when he stops on a desolate backroad outside Danbury, Conn., to assist a terrified young woman, Elinor Darrie, who tells him a horrible story. She and her fiancé, Inis St. Erme, were driving to Vermont to get married when St. Erme decided to pick up a hitchhiker. After they stopped at Dead Bridegroom’s Pond for a picnic, the stranger attacked St. Erme, and Darrie fled. Darrie is unaware that her fiancé is dead and missing his right hand. Riddle later considers what he believes are the key questions in the case: how the killer managed to vanish, and what became of St. Erme’s missing hand. Seemingly trivial details prove to be significant clues, and readers will marvel at Rogers’s ingenuity at planting them in the midst of his frantically paced plot. First published in 1945, this entry in the American Mystery Classics series deserves its reputation as one of the best mysteries of all time. [em](July) [/em]