PHILIP MacDONALD – The White Crow. Colonel Anthony Gethryn #2. Collins, UK, hardcover, 1928. Dial Press, US, hardcover, 1928.

   This is the second of MacDonald’s books featuring Colonel Anthony Gethryn. The much better-known The Rasp was the first.

   In The White Crow he presents a puzzle of the locked-room variety.  An elderly financier, clad only in his underwear, sits in his office chair with  his throat cut. The door is locked; the window looks out on a sheer drop; there is no way a murderer could have been concealed in the room, nor could the key have been turned from the; outside.

   The office boy has disappeared, though at first that seems to have no connection with the murder. He is an interesting office boy, however, with an  unusual sideline for bringing in extra money. Lucas calls in Gethryn, and A.G. works side by side with Superintendents Boyd and Pike.

   Not a whisper or jealousy or hostility; the police think Colonel Gethryn is just too, too marvelous. Embarrassing, their hero-worship is at times. The will is a puzzler, and some sleuthing on the part of Anthony’s brother-in-law catches a strange element there.

   Naturally it is A.G. who sorts out the lot of secretaries, lawyers, and night-club habitues, deduces bow the crime was done, and finds out whodunit.  Though there is good detective work done, the identity of murderer-in-chief is pulled out of a hat.

– Reprinted from The Poison Pen, Volume 3, Number 3 (May-June 1980).