This is one of my favorites among Ngaio Marsh’s stories, an old-fashioned story featuring Chief Inspector Roderick Alleyn and his faithful assistant, Inspector Fox, whom he called Brer Fox or Foxkin. It seemed quaint from such a solemn man like Alleyn to have coined playful names for another man.
It was grossly suspicious when a British politician died after a successful operation. Sir Derek O’Callaghan had taken ill after a meal and was admitted for an emergency operation. There were likely suspects among the hospital staff at his operation - one of the nurses was his jilted lover, another nurse was part of an anarchist group who was against the politician’s bill in parliament, and the surgeon who operated on him, had been angry over the politician’s treatment of the jilted lover. The list of suspects also included family members. Lady O’Callaghan – had she been aware of her husband’s lover? His sister Ruth, was a barmy hypochondriac – could she have tried her numerous remedies and medicines on him? It was indeed a tiresome yet enlightening task for Alleyn and Fox.
The book provided a great combination of suspense and excitement as the author wove in the background and motivations of the various characters connected with the dead man. The stories of their involvement were fascinating. This is an enjoyable book – I had finished it in one sitting, as it was a short book which had kept me turning the pages till the end!