Another murder at a posh gentlemen’s club, another “locked-door” case for the Southland Sherlock.
Summer, 1906. Prominent Manhattan Club member Edmund Pinckney has had his throat cut by someone who couldn’t have done it—someone witnesses insist has an ironclad alibi. The mystery is so baffling that club founder J.P. Morgan has no other choice but to summon that “relentless crime-solving machine,” John Le Brun, quondam sheriff of Brunswick, Georgia (The Sceptered Isle Club, 2002, etc.).Though there’s little love lost between J.L. and J.P., the ex-sheriff is pleased to be rescued from the rust starting to encrust his ratiocinative apparatus. The deceased, Le Brun discovers, had a twin brother, but before he can make use of that vital piece of information, Miniver Pinckney becomes a second homicide victim. Now Le Brun realizes that he is stalking a murderer as ruthless and diabolical as any who ever gave Holmes a merry chase. And the suspect list won’t quit. There’s a disenchanted sister, a cuckolded husband, several swindled business associates, and a seductive housekeeper, delicious enough to sidetrack even the dedicated Le Brun. But eventually he buckles down, puts by his honey, follows the money, and brings yet another cunning killer to justice.
And that’s quite a feat, since the clues are clogged with period esoterica that make this the least effective of Le Brun’s three manhunts.