This rare 1945 thriller offers a delightful example of detective fiction at its very best. Using the pen name R. T. Campbell, the eminent art critic, poet, and fantasy novelist Ruthven Campbell Todd wrote a series of mysteries featuring a unique hero, the inimitable amateur sleuth Professor John Stubbs. A blustering old botanist from Scotland, Stubbs employs humorously unconventional methods in his investigations. In this, one of Stubbs's first adventures, an infamous fraud is poisoned at a gathering of geneticists and the possible killer includes a dozen vindictive former assistants and humiliated colleagues. The gallery of suspects ranges from a brash American, Dr. Swartz, and the victim's sniveling associate, Professor Silver, to a lovely young genetics student, Miss Mary Lewis, and even Stubbs's nephew, a reporter covering the convention. The novel's brisk pace, witty dialogue, and flavorful re-creation of English university life during the mid-twentieth century combine to form an exciting and amusing page-turner.
- 1985 R. T. Campbell, Peter Main
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