"Hands down one of the best formal detective stories ever written."— Kirkus Reviews, STARRED review
This Golden Age masterclass of red herrings and tricky twists, first published in 1944, features a tense and claustrophobic investigation with a close-knit cast of suspects.
"You have to reach for the greatest of the Great Names (Agatha Christie, John Dickson Carr, Ellery Queen) to find Christianna Brand's rivals in the subtleties of the trade."
—Anthony Boucher in The New York Times
It is 1942, and struggling up the hill to the new Kent military hospital Heron's Park, postman Joseph Higgins is soon to deliver seven letters of acceptance for roles at the infirmary. He has no idea that the sender of one of the letters will be the cause of his demise in just one year's time.
When Higgins returns to Heron's Park with injuries from a bombing raid in 1943, his inexplicable death by asphyxiation in the operating theatre casts four nurses and three doctors under suspicion, and a second death in quick succession invites the presence of the irascible—yet uncommonly shrewd—Inspector Cockrill to the hospital. As an air raid detains the inspector for the night, the stage is set for a tense and claustrophobic investigation with a close-knit cast of suspects.
About the Author
CHRISTIANNA BRAND was the pseudonym of Mary Christianna Milne (1907–1988), a British crime writer who was born in British Malaya. She is best known for her mystery novels featuring series detective Inspector Cockrill, though she also wrote several acclaimed short story collections and authored the Nurse Matilda book series for children.
"Hands down one of the best formal detective stories ever written...Murder stalks a wartime Kentish hospital in Brand’s masterpiece….even the savviest fans of golden-age puzzles should prepare to be hornswoggled" — Kirkus Reviews, STARRED Review
"One operating room, seven doctors and nurses, and a baffling case hinging on the seeming impossibility of anyone getting away with murder with six other witnesses surrounding the killer make this a tantalizing puzzle." — Booklist, Starred Review