Half-Mast Murder (Milward Kennedy, 1930)

A political author is found killed in the summer house. Before the alarm is even raised, our three protagonists are tumbling over themselves to be the first to discover the body, almost as if they already know it’s there and are just waiting for the signal.

That they all suspect one of themselves guilty and are rushing to conceal evidence is obvious. Though a great deal of the book is spent on unraveling the faked and disturbed clues, it’s also pretty obvious that none of them are actually the murderer, either. Who really killed him works in the sense that it fits into the timeline but is very disappointing in that it’s entirely unmotivated. They killed him because otherwise there’d be no book.

Inscriptions: In pen on the front flyleaf, “Doris Hopper” then “Doris Thelma Hopper”. Below that, in pencil, “Doris Hopper”. In pen on the facing end paper, “D. Hopper”.

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