|Poison in Jest
First paperback (British): Penguin 250 (1940)
Pictured at left
First US (abridged): Thriller Novel Classic 23 (1944)
First US (unabridged): Popular Library 349 (1951)
A man at the cellar window saw the tin of arsenic fall and the hatchet swing. Many people heard the murderer's step in the hallways at night; two people saw the white marble hand run along the window-ledges like a spider. But nobody saw the murderer's face.
Shut into his library with his books and manuscripts, Judge Quayle lived in terror until he drank the poisoned glass of brandy. Any member of the household in this ghostly place, beside the mountains, might have been guilty. There were four clues written in the yellow book, and a listener overheard Doctor Twills outline the subtlest way to commit murder.
Rossiter - who has credentials from Scotland Yard, but cannot hold a job anywhere - started working on the case. And he was up against a killer who took the most evil way, which is the smiling relentlessness of the poisoner. But he solved the Quayle murders by means of an empty paint bucket, a view from a window, and an absent-minded drawing in a book.