A female killer stalks the streets of London, sleeping with young men before slashing their throats and mutilating their bodies. The crimes have baffled the police and enraged Londoners, who demand the murderer's arrest. Mary, Duchess of Dove, a gentle young widow who is beloved by all who know her, seems an unlikely suspect, but the clues all point to her.
The police have a variety of theories - perhaps the Duchess has been hypnotized or drugged, maybe she has an evil double, or could it be a Communist plot to discredit the peerage? Inspector Basil Icelin is determined to solve the mystery, but the true explanation is far more shocking and terrifying than anyone could ever imagine.
Michael Arlen (1895-1956) became a rich and world-famous celebrity after the publication of his best seller The Green Hat in 1924. Hell! Said the Duchess (1934) is a delightfully bizarre book, telling a "bedtime story" in a light, humorous style that contrasts oddly with its gruesome and horrific subject matter.
"It belongs to those short, perfect books that are rarely written in English." (Evening Standard)
"[T]his extremely odd performance is indicative of great power." (Gerald Gould, The Observer)
"[A] right intriguing comedy and mystery. As entertainment during your insomnia, it is earnestly recommended." (Milwaukee Journal)
"[A] perfect masterpiece of hair-raising horror. It may offend some of its readers, but it will not bore them." (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)