'McCloy has always resembled the best writers of the Sayers-Blake-Allingham school' New York Times
Lydia Grey, an American returning to London after many years, is woken by footsteps in the night. There is someone in her room - of that she is sure. But that is also impossible. There is only one door and it is bolted shut. The windows are eight floors up, and are locked against the winter night.
As the noise recedes she switches on her bedside lamp. No one is there. Was it a dream? An illusion of a half-awakened state? Or is someone out to get her?
Helen Worrell Clarkson McCloy (1904-1994)
Born in New York City, Helen McCloy was educated in Brooklyn, at the Quaker Friends' school, and later studied at the Sorbonne in Paris. From 1927-1932 she worked for Hearst's Universal News Service after which she freelanced as an art critic and contributor to various publications, including theLondon Morning Post. Shortly after her return to the US she published her first novel, Dance of Death, in 1933, featuring her popular series detective-psychologist Basil Willing. The novel Through a Glass Darkly, a puzzle in the supernatural tradition of John Dickson Carr, is the eighth in the Basil Willing series and is generally acknowledged to be her masterpiece. In 1946 McCloy married fellow author Davis Dresser, famed for his Mike Shayne novels. Together they founded Halliday & McCloy literary agency as well as the Torquil Publishing Company. The couple had one daughter, Chloe, and their marriage ended in 1961. In 1950 Helen McCloy became the first woman president of the Mystery Writers of America and in 1953 she was awarded an Edgar by the same organisation for her criticism. In 1987, critic and mystery writer H. R. F. Keating included her Basil Willing title Mr Splitfoot in a list of the 100 best crime and mystery books ever published.