Harrison was an expert on deadly fungi. How was it that he had eaten a large quantity of the death-dealing muscarine? Was it an accident? Suicide? Or murder? The documents in the case seemed to be a collection of love notes and letters home, yet they concealed a clue to the brilliant murderer who baffled the best minds in London.
Written in collaboration with Robert Eustace, this is one of Dorothy L. Sayers' most original and compelling stories.
©1930 Trustees of Anthony Fleming & Robert Eustace (P)2012 AudioGO Ltd
This classic of the Golden Age of detective stories mustn't be overlooked by fans of the genre. Robert Eustace provided the scientific and technical details of the murder plot, which Dorothy L Sayers wrote up in her inimitable style. The story itself is not quite a whodunnit -- the identity of the murderer is obvious early on. Instead, the detection is mainly centred around the questions of how to prove that the case is indeed murder, and how to pin it on the suspect.
As its title suggests, the book is written as a collection of letters and other documents that together make up a dossier of evidence compiled by the victim's son. Sayers clearly enjoyed the opportunity to write in a variety of very different voices, and especially relished the character of Munting, an aspiring young writer given to flights of lyrical prose.
Sayers intended this to be a major literary work, and alongside the murder mystery she introduces a metaphysical theme, pondering the difference between life and non-life, and how the one could have emerged from the other. The murder and its detection are based on biochemical discoveries that were on the leading edge of knowledge in 1930 when this novel was written.
Nigel Anthony, as always, is a superb narrator, giving each character an individual voice and breathing life and excitement into this quiet mystery.
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