cover image A Gentleman’s Murder

A Gentleman’s Murder

Christopher Huang. Inkshares, $14.99 trade paper (300p) ISBN 978-1-942645-95-5

Set in 1924, Huang’s impressive debut will delight fans of golden age detective fiction. Eric Peterkin, a WWI veteran who evaluates murder mystery manuscripts for possible publication, belongs to a London club, the Britannia, whose one requirement for membership, “aside from being a gentleman,” is “experience on the battlefield in the service of the Empire.” Peterkin is present for an unusual wager at the Britannia. Mortimer Wolfe bets the club’s newest member, Albert Benson, that he can break into Benson’s safe-deposit box in the club’s vault and remove the contents by the next day. Benson later shows Peterkin what’s in the box: a hypodermic kit, a pair of surgical scissors, a photo of a nurse smiling over a birthday cake, and a medical report on facial injuries. Benson asserts that these items will “right a great wrong from the past.” The following day, in front of the club members overseeing the wager, Wolfe produces the hypodermic kit and the scissors, claiming that was all that was in the box. When the men check the Britannia vault, they find Benson dead with a letter opener in his neck. Peterkin takes it upon himself to both solve the murder and carry on Benson’s quest for justice. Huang’s plotting, characters, and atmosphere are all top-notch.[em] (Aug.) [/em]