this is the 156th in my series of forgotten or seldom read books
The Dragon of Lung Wang by Marion Harvey (Edward J. Clode), 1928 hardcover, mystery
“The taxi slipped like a silvern beast along the pathway of it’s lamps. Within, David Corrigan fanned himself with his straw hat, oppressed by a distinct premonition of catastrophe.”
David Corrigan returns to America after a long period abroad to find his ward, Claudia Reeve, with whom he has been in love for years, about to marry a disreputable man who is only after her considerable fortune. A small black jade dragon is a clue discovered beside a murdered woman in the garden during a fancy dress ball. The suitor, an actress, the ward’s brother, a mysterious Chinese servant and several others are suspected. Corrigan works with Inspector Aimes to solve the crime. This is real Twenties stuff, such as the Inspector asking a woman where she was at a particular time and her answer that of course, she can’t tell him. The Inspector accepts that, understanding that a lady shouldn’t have to tell.
After the second murder, Inspector Aimes decides he must consult private citizen Graydon McKelvie, who is able to solve the most baffling cases. McKelvie is a sort-of Holmes and at this point Corrigan becomes a Watson character, accompanying the private investigator on his search for the truth.
There is a lot of driving around and interviewing people, but McKelvie’s discovery of a hidden passageway in the walls of an apartment building reveal how Wan Lee’s daughter – or someone – was able to pass into an apartment without being seen by the policemen watching the front door. But does that reveal the killer? The handsome attorney could have done it, but he loved the girl. Everyone else seems to have an alibi. One by one McKelvie interviews the suspects and assembles the clues, and then identifies the murderer. While this book isn’t easily obtainable, it is enjoyable reading.
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More Friday Forgotten Book posts
can be found at Patti Abbott’s fine blog Pattinase