No Friendly Drop (1931)


My review:

One of Wade’s best.  Insp. Poole, one of the most likeable police detectives—competent, intelligent and human without the effeteness of Alleyn (witness his agreeably subdued romance with the secretary)—does a very competent job of working out which of the relatives of Lord Grayle, all of whom are greedy, ambitious and unscrupulous (Wade, a nobleman, views his own class as corrupt and untrustworthy), unless it was the butler, administered the di-dial and scopolamine, and how, paying more attention to psychology and motive than to opportunity, and being led neatly astray by a beautiful woman he believes to be poisonous, but which instead grows slower than empires, and more vast…  The crime is at once complicated and simplified by the death of the prime suspect, either suicide or execution.  Towards the end, however, it seems as though Poole may have made a fool of himself, but he is triumphantly vindicated.  The seeming red herring of furniture faking is made integral to the whole in an admirable manner, almost as admirable as the way in which the truth of the murderer’s mistake that fuelled this ingenious and subtle plot came about.  The best, and most devastating, twist is reserved for the third-to-last paragraph.

To the Bibliography.

To the Henry Wade Page.

To the Grandest Game in the World.