This may be my favorite Campion mystery so far. The murderer is impossible to guess, and a host of eccentric family members increase the difficulty of deduction and augment the fun of reading.
Campion’s role in this book is to serve a deceptively fragile old lady as a buffer between her and the troubles besetting her family. Mrs. Faraday is as punctilious and dignified as a high court judge. She rules her live-in family with an iron hand. Her aging offspring have no money and are helpless to earn a living. The old lady knows Campion’s true identity (which is more than the reader does), and sees through his mask of amiable idiocy to his actual sharp intellect.
The family trouble starts with the murder of Andrew Faraday, the most bad tempered of the Faraday elderly children. When another murder takes place, it seems clear that the killer is someone in the house, but who? Campion and his friend from Scotland Yard, the lugubrious Inspector Oates, are faced with an almost impossible puzzle.
This is a delightfully clever mystery and shows another side of the young Albert Campion, as he bows to the forceful personality of 84-year-old Caroline Faraday — and navigates his way through a sea of red herrings.