Murder of a Lady

Anthony Wynne (author)



Duchlan Castle is a gloomy, forbidding place in the Scottish Highlands. Late one night the body of Mary Gregor, sister of the laird of Duchlan, is found in the castle. She has been stabbed to death in her bedroom – but the room is locked from within and the windows are barred. The only tiny clue to the culprit is a silver fish’s scale, left on the floor next to Mary’s body. Inspector Dundas is dispatched to Duchlan to investigate the case. The Gregor family and their servants are quick – perhaps too quick – to explain that Mary was a kind and charitable woman. Dundas uncovers a more complex truth, and the cruel character of the dead woman continues to pervade the house after her death. Soon further deaths, equally impossible, occur, and the atmosphere grows ever darker. Superstitious locals believe that fish creatures from the nearby waters are responsible; but luckily for Inspector Dundas, the gifted amateur sleuth Eustace Hailey is on the scene, and unravels a more logical solution to this most fiendish of plots. Anthony Wynne wrote some of the best locked-room mysteries from the golden age of British crime fiction. This cunningly plotted novel – one of Wynne’s finest – has never been reprinted since 1931, and is long overdue for rediscovery.

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SKU: 9780712356237 Category:


Although the focus is largely on the locked-room puzzle of how the crime could have been done, there’s some pretty good characterisation along the way. I particularly liked the way Wynne portrayed the women, showing them as subordinate within this society, but strong within themselves; victims sometimes, but not hysterical ones; and intelligent, worthy partners for the men they loved….Of course, there is more than one murder, and I have to admit that the second one took me totally by surprise and actually made me gasp a little. There’s no real horror aspect in the book, but it nevertheless builds a great atmosphere of rather creepy tension, aided by the superstitions of the Highland folk….I enjoyed this one very much another author the British Library has managed to add to my list!

–Leah Galbraith “NetGalley ”

Full of light humour, cranky policemen, and one smart amateur detective, this story had me wrapped around it’s finger from the first page.

–Matthew Barnes “Carpe Libris ”

Murder of a Lady is a mystery novel set in Scotland and originally published in 1931. It’s the amateur sleuth, Hailey, that’s the main character and who solved the case. It’s a “locked room” mystery that could potentially be solved in several ways. There were clues, and you could guess whodunit from the clues, but some critical clues weren’t discovered until nearly the end….I originally guessed something similar to what the second inspector concluded, and my solution still seems more plausible to me than the actual solution. Having worked with the murder weapon before, I think whodunit was extremely lucky that everything happened exactly right to get the desired end and that no one noticed that certain things went missing at the time of the crime….The characters were more “types” of people or pieces of a puzzle than people to sympathize with or hate. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I still enjoyed reading the story and would recommend this mystery.

–Genre Reviews

I wasn’t familiar with this author, but I love to read British mysteries of this time period and the locked-room scenario is a favorite. The ending was not expected.



Additional information

Weight 245 g
Dimensions 19 × 13 cm