TINPLATE by Neville Steed


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The story introduces attractive sleuth/ex-adman Peter Marklin, now a dealer in toys of the collectible kind, who lives over his shop in tiny Studland village. Commissioned by local collector Gregory Chalmers to buy a French treasure trove of tinplate cars and boats, Marklin finds the elderly owner charming, the toys superb and the homeward trip pleasant--until he arrives at Customs and discovers every last piece stolen. Under threat of having to repay a fortune to Chalmers, Marklin's rather feverish suspicions fall on Randolph Treasure, a local VIP who collects, very quietly. His Victorian mansion seems also to house beautiful, enigmatic Arabella, who soon shares Marklin's bed and his search. Then, an unidentified woman's corpse is unearthed. Could it be Treasure's wife, long thought to have run off to Switzerland with one of her many lovers? And what are the secrets in Treasure's hidden diaries, which Marklin and elderly buddy Gus Tribble manage to find after a near-disastrous attempt on their lives? The answers are melodramatic and not too convincing; there's too much of Arabella and Marklin's cat Bing; but the toy lore is a delight, Steed's style warm and chatty, the pace bracing--and perhaps there'll be less clutter next time out.

Pub Date: March 23rd, 1987
Publisher: St. Martin's