Nothing is what it seems to be in this classic mystery -- starting with the first dead body, found during a clandestine, mid-night meeting.
mine, and tonight--and why shouldn't you have ten pound as well as another?"
"There's nothing to do but what you say?" I asked.
"Nothing--not a thing!" he affirmed.
"And the time?" I said. "And the word--for surety?"
"Eleven o'clock is the time," he answered. "Eleven--an hour before midnight. And as for the word--get you to the place and wait about a bit, and if you see nobody there, say out loud, 'From James Gilverthwaite as is sick and can't come himself'; and when the man appears, as he will, say--aye!--say 'Panama,' my lad, and he'll understand in a jiffy!"
"Eleven o'clock--Panama," said I. "And--the message?"
"Aye!" he answered, "the message. Just this, then: 'James Gilverthwaite is laid by for a day or two, and you'll bide quiet in the place you know of till you hear from him.' That's all. And--how will you get out there, now?--it's a goodish way."
"I have a bicycle," I answered, and at his question a thought struck me. "How did you intend to get out the
Intricate tale of murder in a quiet country town shortly after the arrival of a stranger. My first Fletcher mystery - excellent.
Of the several Fletcher books I've so far read, this one, reminiscent of Kidnapped, is the most interesting. A weak denouement, though,as is all too typical of him.
I actually found this to be a slightly atypical Fletcher novel. Difficult to put down even though as the reader you feel certain that you know who the murderer is from the get go - and then again maybe you're wrong. Fletcher in this case manages to keep you on edge and ever wondering at least slightly, to the point that the last two murders (and there are plenty of others) details that not is all as it seems. Plenty of intrigue and still very, very readable even after 90 years.
Round, standard J.S. Fletcher mystery at The Border (to Scotland). Well written, and no proofing errors (thanks to the DP team).