cover image Murder at the Palace

Murder at the Palace

Elliott Roosevelt / Author St. Martin's Press $15.95 (232p) IS

The eponymous Palace of Roosevelt's fifth mystery featuring his mother Eleanor, is Buckingham, first stop on the First Lady's trip to meet with Allied leaders in the fall of 1942. The evening of her arrival, an equerry of King George VI is killed in his Palace apartments, and one of the suspects is Sir Alan Burton of Scotland Yard, known to Eleanor from their work together on a previous mystery. To help her old friend, Eleanor insinuates herself into the investigation, pursuing it mainly at night, taken up as she is during the day by official duties. The victim's unsavory private life, with his connections to London's criminal element, and his interest in the theater, add interesting sidelights to the case, giving Mrs. Roosevelt reasons to visit a madam in her Hertford Street house of ill repute, to dine with the city's foremost fencer of stolen goods and to check in at Scotland Yard at 1:30 a.m. Eleanor's formal daytime activities, with glimpses of famous figures and conversations with her son Elliott, combine with her nighttime peregrinations to offer a detailed view of London life during the blitz. The author's somewhat stiff style is put to good advantage here, in keeping with the traditions of royalty, the high seriousness of the time and the accepted character of his redoubtable heroine. Mystery Guild Dual Main selection; paperback rights to Avon. (February 23)