Sir Eustace Pennefather, a notorious womanizer, receives a box of chocolates while staying at his London club. He disapproves such modern marketing techniques and is about to throw it away. But Graham Bendix, another club member whom he hardly knows, has lost a bet with his wife and needs one.
Bendix accepts the box, takes it home and gives it to his wife. Both try them together after lunch. His wife takes seven and he takes two. A few hours later Joan Bendix is dead, poisoned by nitrobenzene, while he is left seriously ill.
It becomes clear that the intended victim was Sir Eustace Pennefather rather than the innocent Joan Bendix, but Scotland Yard, unable to solve the case, takes an unusual approach. A group of six amateur sleuths, the Roger Sheringham’s Crime Circle, is call in. They have one week to come up with a solution individually and to present their case in six consecutive nights of the following week. Each solution is credible, but the problem is that each points to a different murderer and the reader is kept guessing up to the final pages.
This is a superb and very entertaining book, that hopefully will be available in Spanish soon. Absolutely delicious.
‘The Poisoned Chocolate Case (1929) remains, and deservedly, the Sheringham novel most fondly remembered by enthusiasts for Golden Age detective fiction.’ (Martin Edwards).
Anthony Berkeley (1893 – 1971), a journalist as well as a novelist, was a founding member of the Detection Club and one of crime fiction’s greatest innovators. He was one of the first to predict the development of the ‘psychological’ crime novel and he sometimes wrote under the pseudonym of Francis Iles. He wrote twenty-four novels, ten of which feature his amateur detective, Roger Sheringham. (Taken from Fantastic fiction).
The Poisoned Chocolates Case (1929)
Felony & Mayhem, 2010.
Number of pages: 224