#966: The Mystery of Fifty-Two (1931) by Walter S. Masterman

Mystery of 52

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One stormy evening, the nebbishy, unworldly Alfred Austin of 57 Caldwell Road is phoned up and asked to take a message to his neighbour Mr. Carey at number 52, only to fight his way through the wind and the rain to be told upon arrival that no-one of that name lives there.  When Austin’s wife arrives home later that same evening, she informs him that no-one of any name lives there, as the house has been empty since being built a year previously.  The following morning, Alf sees a man with bloody hands leaving number 52 shortly before a dead body is discovered within…and that’s just the beginning of his problems.

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#964: Keeping it in the Family in The Mystery of the Flaming Footprints (1971) by M.V. Carey

Pity the New Guy, who has to come in to an established IP and keep everything recognisably the same while also making changes that justify their hiring, like whoever has to reinvent James Bond now that Daniel Craig is done with the role (I have some ideas, by the way, if anyone at EON is reading). With The Three Investigators 14 books old, what could fourth author into the fray Mary Virginia Carey do to establish herself?

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#963: The Puzzle of the Happy Hooligan (1941) by Stuart Palmer

Happy Hooligan

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With “Europe [having] exploded”, crime-solving New York schoolteacher Hildegard Withers is holidaying in Los Angeles and, by dint of being recognised from a photo in the paper, is hired by a film studio as a consultant on a new film about Lizzie Borden. When, on her first day, the man in the office next to hers dies from a broken neck, Miss Withers becomes — for reasons that completed eluded this reader — convinced that he was murdered and sets about trying to find his killer. Thankfully, plenty of suspicious types present themselves for consideration, as the prospect of blackmail, secrets, and a general dissatisfaction with the victim’s comportment all float to the surface.

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#960: Death at Swaythling Court (1926) by J.J. Connington

Death at Swaythling Court

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I’ll be honest, even I’ve lost track of whether I’m reading J.J. Connington chronologically — but I’m going to say that, yes, from this point on the criminous novels by Alfred Walter Stewart that I’ve not reviewed on here will be encountered in publication order.  So, back to the beginning we go, before even Connington’s most prolific sleuth Sir Clinton Driffield ambled onto the scene, with Death at Swaythling Court (1926). In short order, a murdered lepidopterist with an unsavoury past sees suspicion point in many directions, with the crime scene positively awash with clues which can’t seem to be fitted into any pattern.

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