Take an old-fashioned British melodrama set in 1929, feature an 11-year-old boy whose sucker newspaper ads become the contrivance for a murder mystery, throw in a wide-spread TB panic and there's the plot. Johnny Swanson and his housemaid mum are desperate for money to pay their increased rent, and his "adverts"—inspired when he throws away the household savings on a phony product that promises to increase height—prove to be the answer: How to "Stop your baby wetting the bed"?
His solution: "Make him sleep in a chair." When the good Dr. Langford, Johnny's mum's employer, is murdered, she is charged with the crime. Johnny's efforts to prove her innocence are thwarted by unconvinced police, a newspaper reporter, a devious sanatorium director and other red herrings. Overly long with a slow beginning and many convenient twists and turns, the mystery isn't evident until a third of the way through. The writing is ripe for a theatrical production, but the Briticisms may trip up some American readers. (Historical mystery. 9-12)Read full book review >