The House Of Peril-Louis Tracy (1922)

Louis Tracy

Louis Tracy

Who killed the high society millionaire? Two police detectives are trying to find out. They may be opposite in appearance like Laurel and Hardy but they make a smart team. They enlist a friend of the deceased to help them out. The detectives appeared in earlier books that take place in London. No explanation how they got to New York. Doesn’t really matter since this is a good one and they are fun characters.

Anthony van Courtland lives in a mansion on upper fifth avenue in New York City. He and twelve friends get together for a night of boozing it up in the mansion. Each one contributed different bottles of liquor to the punch. They call themselves the ACE Club. It was thought that’s because they were all flyers in World War One. Nope. It stands for Alcohol,Chlorform and Ether. This will be their last meeting.

The next morning Benson the butler gets upsets when he discovers his pet goldfish is dead. Then he finds the dead body of Anthony while his twelve friends are passed out at the big table. He goes to get the cops when Anthony’s friend, Captain Alec Stuart is just arriving. Stuart is a member of the American Expeditionary Force of the U.S. Calvary. He and Anthony were supposed to go horseback riding in Central Park.   Police Detective Charles Furneaux shows up. He gives a new meaning to the word irritating.

He tells Stuart to inform Anthony’s fiance Mary Dixon of the death. Stuart tells her and she doesn’t break down and inquires about her brother Willie who was one of the guests. Furneaux is about to take everybody to the station but lets Willie go. Looks like he and Stuart will become pals. That’s just fine with Furnneaux and his partner Chief Detective Winter. They want Stuart to find out all he can about the Dixon family.

Anthony received a threatening note the day before. Someone doesn’t want him marrying Mary. The marriage looks like part of a business deal in which Anthony saved Mary’s father a lot of money and grief. Marie’s not too thrilled with the matchup.

The night of the murder a hobo in Central Park saw someone toss something out of Anthony’s window. It was a bottle and a ring. The ring has a lion on it. Out of its paws comes needles that were tipped with poison. It cost the life of a police detective when he handled it. It’s also what killed Anthony.

Then Marie and her father head for their summer retreat in the Adirondacks. Winter and Furneaux tell Stuart to go there with Willie. Furneaux will be there in disguise along with Winter. Two of the twelve guests will also show up. They both want to marry Marie. The detectives are sure one of them is the murderer. Stuart is falling for Marie but is too shy to say anything to her.

This is a fun mystery. If you spot it at a Library sale or similar event it’s worth picking up.

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About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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