“An intricate puzzle cleverly constructed and neatly solved” introducing Los Angeles private eye Fergus O’Breen, by the author of Nine Times Nine (The New York Times).
Anthony Boucher was a literary renaissance man: an Edgar Award–winning mystery reviewer, an esteemed editor of the Hugo Award–winning Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, a prolific scriptwriter of radio mystery programs, and an accomplished writer of mystery, science fiction, fantasy, and horror. With a particular fondness for the locked room mystery, Boucher created such iconic sleuths as Los Angeles PI Fergus O’Breen, amateur sleuth Sister Ursula, and alcoholic ex-cop Nick Noble.
In this “entertaining yarn,” the first to feature Fergus O’Breen, Col. Theodore Rand has received a strange telegram from his friend Humphrey Garnett (Kirkus Reviews). “You may be invaluable witness at inquest on my body,” it reads. A retired man of leisure, Rand opts to indulge what he thinks is his friend’s whim, flying from New York to Garnett’s home in Los Angeles—only to find Garnett dead upon his arrival.
After the police arrest the wrong man, Garnett’s family friend, rookie PI Fergus O’Breen, is called in to help. An eccentric and unorthodox Irishman, O’Breen is eager to take on his first murder case. But with a house full of suspects and a mystery steeped in playing card lore, the deck may be stacked against him. Now O’Breen must quickly shuffle through the clues if he hopes to solve this one before the real killer deals another deadly hand . . .