Lady Alisia Dene receives a packet in the mail. Not long after she disappears. An amateur detective and a sometime resentful Scotland Yard Inspector try to find out what happened. There are some twists and turns along the way that keep things interesting.
Alisia takes an underground train to Raleigh Mansions. At the station she’s spotted by family friend Claude Bruce. He’s a barrister and an amateur detective.Three weeks later Alisia is still missing. A body has been found stuffed in a drain pipe. Bruce, along with Inspector White of the CID think it’s Alisia. The body can’t be positively identified and is buried in a pauper’s grave. The body had an iron spike in its head. Now they hunt for the murderer.
Jane Harding, a servant in the Dene household is also missing. Bruce goes to Raleigh Mansions and meets Mrs.Gwen Hillmer. They go to a musical theatre and onstage is Jane. She’s a member of the chorus and is using an alias. His next stop is in Monte Carlo. He’s trying to chase Gwen’s brother Sydney Corbett. He also lives in Raleigh Mansions. He’s involved in a stock deal that’s supposed to have taken him to Wyoming but Bruce thinks he’s in Monte Carlo. He’s more convinced when he sees a letter drop in a hotel that receives mail for Sydney.
Bruce watches a pigeon shooting contest where one entrant is Albert Mensmore. He’s on his way to winning when a female voice urging him on breaks his concentration and he loses. Things get worse as he loses at roulette. Bruce comes across him as he is about to commit suicide. They become friendly and Bruce is convinced he’s really Sydney. Mensmore eventually leaves on a yacht with his fiancee and her father and Bruce goes back to London.
Sir Charles Dene decides to put a notice in the papers announcing his wife’s death. Bruce and White continue the investigation. In a search of Sydney’s apartment Bruce sees a piece broken off a iron fender by the fireplace. It matches the spike in the murdered female’s body. Bruce is convinced that Mensmore is Sydney but not sure he’s the murderer.
Bruce and Mrs.Hillmer start getting closer and he makes a discovery about her brother Sydney that involves a gold mine in Wyoming. Bruce and White are in for a surprise.
Most of the time White is presented as a resentful buffoon but Bruce always manages to calm him down. The book takes its time but it’s not so slow that it becomes a drag. Tracy does keep it interesting. Bruce is a good character. Typical of the era the resolution takes a while at the end. Tracy has better books out but this one is still worth checking out.