A dowager is being scared to death in this classic whodunit by a #1 New York Times–bestselling master who “helped the mystery series grow up” (The New York Times).
It’s enough to stop Eliza Fairbanks’s heart. At least that’s what the elderly widow claims is being done to her. First, someone unleashes a cloud of bats in her locked bedroom. When that doesn’t do the trick, next comes a pack of rats to claw at her toes. Special duty nurse Hilda Adams, aka “Miss Pinkerton” to the Homicide Bureau, believes Eliza’s every rattled fear is true. She may be frail—but she’s not batty.
What Eliza is, is very, very rich. Out of the shady and oddball assortment of relatives swarming the mansion, someone clearly has an eye on the Fairbanks fortune. Now it’s Hilda’s job to keep an eye on Eliza before a potential killer resorts to more definitive means. And considering all the bad blood running through the heart of the Fairbanks family, it might already be too late to save her charge.
In this twisty and atmospheric whodunit from Rinehart (1876 1958) featuring astute nurse and police ally Hilda Adams, Hilda's friend Inspector Fuller, who believes Hilda "can see more with those blue eyes of hers than most of us could with a microscope," wants her to help an elderly widow, Eliza Fairbanks. Mrs. Fairbanks claims her house has been invaded by animals. Her account is supported by her granddaughter, and Hilda agrees to join the household as the woman's nurse to keep an eye on things. Her charge reveals that someone previously put arsenic in her sugar bowl, bolstering the theory that the current campaign, which includes odd noises at night, is also aimed at bringing about Mrs. Fairbanks's untimely demise. Things turn violent when a member of the household is stabbed to death in a locked room. The capable Hilda proves herself to be a savvy sleuth with superior powers of observation. Rinehart keeps the pages turning without stinting on characterization. First published in 1942, this reissue is a worthy addition to the American Mystery Classics series.