Review 2071: Death of Jezebel

Seven years before the action of the novel, Isabel Drew essentially pimped out innocent Perpetua Kirk to Earl Anderson by helping him get her drunk. Perpetua’s fiancĂ©, Johnny Wise, broke in upon them and then drove his car into a tree.

Now the three people involved are working on a pageant. Inspector Cockrill is in town for a conference when Perpetua tells him she has received a threat to her life, blaming her for Johnny’s death. Later they learn that Isabel and Earl have also been threatened. It’s odd that so many of the people involved in the pageant knew and loved Johnny.

The pageant calls for 11 knights to ride out in front of a tower, from which Isabel, as the queen, comes and gives a speech. But Isabel falls from the tower and is found to be strangled.

Death of Jezebel is an example of the Golden Age puzzle novel, where the detectives concentrate on how the murder was done instead of who did it. My problem with this type of mystery is that the murders are usually ridiculously complicated and we have endless discussions involving the action of the knights and the backstage participants.

I received a copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for a free and fair review.

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Review 2011: Green for Danger

The details of an operating military hospital during World War II are meticulously recounted in Green for Danger. The novel begins with the postman, Higgins, delivering six letters about the writers’ postings to the hospital. The readers then learn that one of the six people will become a murderer.

The military hospital in the Kent countryside is busy one night, because an air raid in the nearby town has caused the hospital in town to send some civilians there. Among them is Higgins, the postman, who is also a member of the local rescue, most of whom have just been killed or injured.

Higgins’s femur is due to be set in surgery the next morning. It’s a relatively straightforward procedure that shouldn’t be dangerous, but as soon as he starts to go under the anesthetic, he dies. The operating team is shocked.

What seems to be an unusual but unsuspicious death from the anesthetic has Inspector Cockrill wondering. However, there seems to be no way that the canisters containing oxygen, which are black and white, could have been switched for the green carbon dioxide canisters, and no poisonous substances could be forced into a canister. If the death was murder, only the six people in the operating room could have done it.

That evening, Sister Bates, who is jealous of womanizing surgeon Gervase Eden, has a little snit during which she announces that she knows the death was a murder and she has evidence. Later, she is found dead in the surgery, stabbed and wearing a surgical gown and a mask.

This mystery is purposefully claustrophobic and quite suspenseful at times, although the explanations at the end are a bit long. I thought I knew the motive and the murderer all along, but I was fooled! I am happy to be seeing more and more women writers represented in this crime series.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a free and fair review.

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