Vintage Golden Age Mystery
Scavenger Hunt Category: Knife
Date Finished: February 14, 2016
The second mystery in the three-mystery Tecumseh Fox series, this one barely mentions Fox’s menagerie of odd-ball humans living in his country house, nor does it have much in the way of unusual characteristics for Fox, showing him just as a clever private detective. Stout’s female detective, Doll Bonner, does show up, but only briefly, as one of her operatives, a young woman finds herself knocked unconscious next to her murdered uncle. That uncle is the head of an old food company firm that is dealing with an unknown figure putting quinine in their jars of food. Our young woman has been sent by Bonner’s firm to investigate a rival firm, and of course she has fallen in love with the young executive. Her cousin also appears as a suspect, as do some old employees of the firm. The writing is well done to Stout’s usual standards, but the mystery is not difficult to solve. The end reveal where all the characters are gathered together is very similar in style to Nero Wolfe’s usual procedure, but it fizzles without Wolfe’s idiosyncrasies.