Murder Out of Turn is the second of the Mr. and Mrs. North mysteries, which were extremely popular in the 40s and 50s.
Pam and Jerry North have invited their friend Lieutenant Bill Wiegand to their cabin on a lake in northeastern New York State. When he arrives, he finds quite a social group of vacationers finishing up a tennis tournament and then having a party. Wiegand walks one of the women home from the party at night and gets lost on the way back. When he is near the cabin with the partiers, he comes across the body of Helen Wilson, whose throat has been cut. Early the next morning, there is a fire in the cabin of Jean Corbin, killing her.
Having called in the state troopers and the Bureau of Criminal Identification, Wiegand finds Lieutenant Heimrich asking for his help. One of the difficulties for the police is not knowing which murder was intended. Everyone is surprised that anyone would want to murder Helen, although Jean is another story. So, did Jean witness something about Helen’s murder or did Helen about Jean’s? When he investigates further, Wiegand can only find one person who might want to hurt Helen, Dorian Hunt, whose father was tried for fraud. Helen, Hunt’s secretary, reluctantly testified against him. On the other hand, there are several people who may have wanted to kill Jean, jealous wives and coworkers and men she had dumped.
I’m not sure I enjoyed this novel as much as the first one, although it was okay. For me, there were too many details and not enough characterization. The Norths frankly don’t do much to solve the mystery, just get involved in some chases. Having Wiegand fall for a woman who hates cops was a little interesting.