An unpleasant spinster meets her end on the stairs of the Belsize Park Tube station.
All of the residents of the Frampton Private Hotel in Hampstead knew that Euphemia Pongleton was in the habit of walking one stop closer to the center of London to save a penny’s fare on the Underground. But they hardly expected to hear that she was found on the stairs at Belsize Park, strangled to death with her terrier’s leash on her way to a dental appointment. Her death sends shock waves through the boardinghouse. Betty Watson and Cissie Fain are all agog. Mrs. Daymer regards the murder as fodder for her latest psychological thriller. The landlady, Mrs. Bliss, frets about how she’ll get dinner done with the maid, Nellie, crying her eyes out because the police have detained her boyfriend, Bob Thurlow. Gerry Plasher is in a tizzy because the question of whether his fiancee, Beryl Sanders, will or won’t inherit her aunt’s fortune depends on what vindictive Euphemia wrote in the latest version of her will. Meanwhile, Basil Pongleton, the other claimant to the family fortune, tells the police a cock and bull story about traveling to Hampstead from his own boardinghouse in Tavistock Square when he was actually in Belsize Park at the time of his aunt’s death. He’s so rattled by his own blunder that he seeks advice from Joseph Slocum, another Frampton tenant whom young Basil regards as a man of the world. All the while, Mr. Blend sits at his table in the living room, cutting his newspaper placidly into strips.
How this band of halfwits will solve a murder will surprise, and perhaps amuse, readers of this reprint of Hay’s 1934 classic.