'No author is more skilled at making a good story seem brilliant' Sunday Express
When spinster Emily Foss, who ran the haberdashery, is found bludgeoned to death, the silver pencil that had surely been in her purse that night is found in brash young Lennie Hunter's possession, and it is he who is to be hanged for the crime.
To clear his name, Hunter's fiancee brings in Detective Arthur Crook. Soon Crook discovers Emily was not on good terms with her nephew, his wife, or many others in the small English town where she lived. Faced with a maze of hidden motives, Crook must contrive against the clock to trap the real murderer.
Anthony Gilbert was the pen name of Lucy Beatrice Malleson. Born in London, she spent all her life there, and her affection for the city is clear from the strong sense of character and place in evidence in her work. She published 69 crime novels, 51 of which featured her best known character, Arthur Crook, a vulgar London lawyer totally (and deliberately) unlike the aristocratic detectives, such as Lord Peter Wimsey, who dominated the mystery field at the time. She also wrote more than 25 radio plays, which were broadcast in Great Britain and overseas. Her thriller The Woman in Red (1941) was broadcast in the United States by CBS and made into a film in 1945 under the title My Name is Julia Ross. She was an early member of the British Detection Club, which, along with Dorothy L. Sayers, she prevented from disintegrating during World War II. Malleson published her autobiography, Three-a-Penny, in 1940, and wrote numerous short stories, which were published in several anthologies and in such periodicals as Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and The Saint. The short story 'You Can't Hang Twice' received a Queens award in 1946. She never married, and evidence of her feminism is elegantly expressed in much of her work.