‘It is past the half-hour. My time is coming nearer with every tick of the clock.’Horace Manning, scientist, recluse and ‘closed book’ even to his friends is found dead in his study at 4am, following a dinner in honour of his daughter’s engagement. An ivory-handled carving knife rests between his shoulder blades as the houseguests gather round to witness the awful crime. The telephone line has been sabotaged – a calculated murder has been committed.
Rewinding twelve hours, the events of the afternoon and evening unfold, revealing a multitude of clues and motives from a closed cast of suspects until the narrative reaches 4am again – then races on to its riveting conclusion at 4pm as the reader is led twice round the clock.
First published in 1935, the sole novel from the actor and dancer Billie Houston is a lively country house mystery and a true lost gem of the Golden Age of crime writing.