The Cask (Freeman Wills Crofts, 1924)

A cask is delivered to Felix, a French born but London based artist. He’d received a letter from an old friend that he went in halves with in the French lottery. They’ve won, he said, and the cask contains his share. The importation and delivery of the cask was suspicious and a detective is there to see it opened. Felix gets the shock of his life when it’s found not to contain gold, but the strangled body of Annette — the woman Felix had long ago been engaged to marry, but her father forced her to marry wealthy Boirac instead. The net closes in on Felix. Every shred of evidence points to him being the culprit. Can private detective La Touche clear his client’s name?

It’s an unusual book. That Boirac is the real murderer isn’t ever in doubt, but the trouble is breaking down his alibi and finding the proofs that would convince a jury of the fact. I can’t recall the last time I read a murder mystery of this style, but I liked it.

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