Murder Mystery Classics #3
Vincent Starrett


Volume 19. Vincent Starrett Memorial Library

Black Cloth, Hard Cover, a Tumble-Turn with double Dustjacket, 272 pp.
ISBN 1-55246-122-X @ $38.00

The Lateness of Percy Jones at the party in the luxurious Lake Shore Drive apartment was the first wrong note. Midnight and the popular, honey-voiced radio announcer inevitably arrived together at every important Chicago function. But the minutes ticked by, and no Percy appeared at Janice Hume's.
    Riley Blackwood, cynical drama critic and amateur detective, began to be puzzled. A sixth sense told him that something was wrong. He was hardly satisfied, however, when Percy eventually turned up with a strange story about a red-headed girl, a blue Persian kitten, and a turbaned Hindu. He was still less satisfied when a police call came over the radio announcing that murder had been done in the apartment below.
Rita Wingfield, the concert singer, lay dead on her bed.
    When Percy Jones disappeared the next day, Riley Blackwood knew that the mystery was far more complicated than the pedestrian police detectives suspected. Events were moving faster even than Riley's quick brain. They piled on each other so rapidly that when he finally reached his astonishing solution, he was almost too late.
The incidents in Janice Hume's apartment introduce an exciting yarn which becomes one of the swiftest and most satisfying detective stories of the season, fully up to the standard that Vincent Starrett has set for himself.

Thirteen white men and women and a glamorous Chinese girl are enjoying a weekend house party given by an American woman in a rented Buddhist temple in the lonely Western Hills of China, near the ancient city of Peking. In the group are a brilliant writer of mystery tales, the curator of a famous American museum, a noted English explorer, and a Hollywood director on vacation.
    When a fantastic murder incongruously interrupts their holiday, all these and others — Chinese, American and foreign — fall under suspicion. In a sleeping chamber innocently extemporized in an old gallery of idols, formerly a place of worship, a beautiful foreign woman is found brutally slain ... and this first murder is not the last....
What background could be more absorbing for a detective story than mysterious old land of China? Vincent Starrett, one of America's best writers in the field of crime and detection, tells not only a thrilling story of murder and pursuit; he paints a vivid picture of native and foreign life in the old walled capital.
    Investigation of the mystery unrolls a rich and colorful panorama of oriental nights and days that gives the story a sense of reality rarely found in a novel of this sort. One enters intimately into the curious circle of expatriates living among an alien people, an authentic revelation based an the author's own experiences in China.

The Other Volumes in The Vincent Starrett Memorial Library