- first published 1973, this edition reprinted by Rue Morge Press 2009
- #5 in the C.D. Sloan series
- ISBN 978-1-60187-038-4
- 159 pages
In this crime novel by CWA Diamond Dagger winner Catherine Aird, Detective Inspector C. D. Sloan returns to solve a locked-room mystery, but he's thrown for a loop when a prominent industrialist turns up dead
On the hottest day in living memory, Richard Mallory Tindall, the owner of a patent firm, does not return home to Cleete village. When a man is found crushed to death, Tindall's case goes from missing person to homicide.
In the course of solving murder cases, Detective Inspector C. D. Sloan has seen all manner of ugly death. But there's something particularly gruesome about this one, the body crushed beneath the marble and iron of an old Saxon church tower. With rubble blocking off access to the crime scene, no one can get close enough to inspect the body. What little evidence is available - a burned match, a black thread, an earring - doesn't bode well for a quick and easy solution.
Even the legendarily cool-headed great detective might begin to crack when a second body turns up. And then an important file goes missing from Sloan's office. How does it all connect?
This is a delightful cozy. There are bodies of course but even their demise is scientifically achieved. In fact the whole plot of the novel is rather intricately based around patents, science, and secrets.
There's humour too and some interesting characters, ambition, and deception. Through all the author lays out the clues for the reader to sift through and to decide who the culprit is.
My rating: 4.4
I've also reviewed 4.3, DEAD HEADING
See more about Catherine Aird at the publisher site.
"Grounded as she was in the traditional mystery, it’s not surprising that her books reflect many of the aspects of mysteries from the Golden Age of detection (roughly 1913 to 1953) when fair play was the name of the game and the reader an active participant in uncovering whodunit."