Jack Haldean, World War I pilot turned mystery writer and amateur sleuth, takes up a case involving big improvements to gramophones.
The firm of industrialist Charles Otterbourne, who’s known for his good works, plans a merger with that of Andrew Dunbar to develop a radical new sound machine created by Professor Alan Carrington. But the merger is derailed when Carrington is found, gun in hand, with the body of Otterbourne, and he’s arrested by the local police. His son Gerry admits to his cousin Steve Lewis, who’s married to Otterbourne’s daughter Molly, that his brilliant father is mentally unstable. Soon afterward, the professor is found dead in his cell, seemingly ending the affair. But Gerry’s discovery that Otterbourne had embezzled the funds in his workers’ retirement plan convinces him that Otterbourne committed suicide. Knowing how ruthless his stepfather can be, Dunbar’s stepson asks him to look into the case. Developments continue at a spirited pace. An uncle of Alan and Gerry’s is attacked, and Dunbar is found shot in a hotel. Although Gerry is arrested for the murder, Jack thinks he may be innocent and sets out to prove it by following the twisted path of family and business relationships gone wrong.
Jack’s sixth (A Hundred Thousand Dragons, 2010, etc.) surrounds the clever sleuth with loads of period detail from the Golden Age of British mysteries.