I am going to commit a murder. I offer no apology for the curtness of the statement.
Thus reads the first letter from “Marius” that was received by Scotland Yard. More follow, giving hints as to when and where this perfect murder will be committed. When one T T Richleigh is found dead, it seems that Marius’ boasts were true.
Richleigh was killed inside a room locked from the inside and every possible suspect has a perfect alibi – multiple witnesses placing them a significant distance from the scene of the crime. It falls to ex-police detective John Franklin and his friend Ludovic Travers to trap an exceedingly clever murderer.
I’ve reviewed some of Dean Street Press’s Christopher Bush reprints before, and I’ve enjoyed them so far. I have, for whatever reason, ricocheted around the canon. There are forty out there now, with twenty-three more to come. But for this review, I thought I’d head back to the beginning. Well, almost the beginning, this is the second one, the one that perhaps made Bush’s reputation as the master of the cast-iron alibi mystery.
Readers of the later books may be surprised by the prominence of Franklin in this tale. Travers, Bush’s regular sleuth, acts as a sort of muse, appearing now and then to poke Franklin in the right direction, but this is Franklin’s story as his investigations take him far and wide in his search for the murderer.
It’s a book that’s worthy of its reputation, very enjoyable and while the murderer (and their alibi trick) becomes clear earlier than you might expect in order for Franklin to find a way to actually prove it, the final chapters are just as enjoyable as the earlier ones.
Sorry for the brevity of the review – very busy at the mo – but this is well worth your time. Oh, unless you’re reading it only for the locked room – that is sorted out very quickly and simply.
Just The Facts, Ma’am: WHY- A character has a similar job to me – he’s a Maths teacher!
Yeah, you probably shouldn’t read this one solely for the locked room problem, unless you’re a fanatical completist who’s trying to cross off every title listed in Adey’s Locked Room Murders, but who would be crazy enough to undertake such a task? Anyway, The Perfect Murder Case should be read as an alibi-busting detective novel in the tradition of the OG alibi-king, Freeman Wills Crofts.
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