cover image The Great Hotel Murder

The Great Hotel Murder

Vincent Starrett. Penzler, $15.95 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-61316-188-3

First published in 1934 as Recipe for Murder, this twisty whodunit from Starrett (1886–1974), best known for his writings about Sherlock Holmes, stars an eccentric amateur sleuth, Riley Blackwood, who divides “his undoubted talents between dramatic criticism and the alluring problems of fantastic crime.” Miss Blaine Oliver arranges to have breakfast in Chicago’s Hotel Granada with a guest there, H.C. Trample, an old friend she hasn’t seen in years. When Trample doesn’t show, or answer his phone or door, Blaine and the hotel manager, Mr. Moffat, enter Trample’s locked room, only to find the body of another guest, Jordan Chambers, an apparent poisoning victim. Since Chambers was registered to a different room on the same floor, Blaine and Moffat check out that room. Sure enough, Trample is sleeping soundly there, and when he’s roused, he explains that Chambers requested the room switch for sentimental reasons. The Granada’s owner brings in Blackwood to investigate, but the puzzle deepens when he learns that Chambers wasn’t the dead man’s real name. The American Mystery Classics series has rescued another memorable work from obscurity. (Sept.)