Death in Fancy Dress
Discover the captivating treasures buried in the British Library's archives. Largely inaccessible to the public until now, these enduring crime classics were written in the golden age of mysteries.
At a soirée like this, anyone can be the life—or death—of the party
The British Secret Service, working to uncover a large-scale blackmail ring and catch its mysterious mastermind 'The Spider', find themselves at the country residence Feltham Abbey where a fancy-dress ball is in full swing.
In the tumult of revelry, Sir Ralph Feltham is found dead. Not the atmosphere bewildered guest Tony was expecting, he sets out make sense of the night's activities and the motives of the other guests. Among them is Hilary, an independently minded socialite still in her costume of vivid silk pyjamas and accompanying teddy bear.
This country house British mystery contrasts the splendours and frivolities of the English upper classes with the sombre over-hang of the First World War and the irresistible complications of deadly familial relationships.
Includes an introduction by Martin Edwards and featuring the short stories 'Horseshoes for Luck' and 'The Cockroach and the Tortoise'
In this standout entry in the British Library Crime Classics series from Gilbert (a pseudonym of Lucy Malleson, 1899 1973), first published in 1933, lawyer Tony Keith and his friend Jeremy Freyne travel to Feltham Abbey at the request of the Home Office, which is unsettled by a baffling rash of suicides of people who had either money or "rank and position." That each of the dead raised large sums of money for various unstated purposes leads officials to believe that a sophisticated blackmailer known as the Spider was responsible for the suicides. Hilary Feltham, the fianc e of a Foreign Office employee, is believed to be the Spider's next target, and Keith and Freyne hope their presence at Feltham Abbey will avert disaster. A murder occurs, despite their best efforts. The ingenious story line is enhanced by ample doses of wit (of Freyne, Keith states, "when you heard of some white man with the reputation of a lunatic, doing anything particularly futile in some obscure British protectorate, you could bet your boots Jeremy wasn't far off"). Gilbert neatly combines Wodehousian humor with a fair play puzzle.