William F. Deeck

E. C. R. LORAC – I Could Murder Her.

Doubleday Crime Club, US, hardcover, 1951. Hardcover reprint: Detective Book Club, 3-in-1 edition, April 1952. Paperback reprint: Popular Library, no date [ca. 1960]. Originally published in the UK by Collins Crime Club, 1951, as Murder of a Martinet.

E. C. R. LORAC I Could Murder Her

   Muriel Farrington is a domineering woman who, unfortunately for them, has her entire family living with her in her stately home. She tries, often successfully, to run the lives of her children, her stepchildren, her in-laws, and her husband, and she seems to be despised by all except her husband and one son.

   When she is found dead one morning in her bed, the family doctor, who is old, ill, and hasn’t been very able for years, is unable to attend and bestow a certificate, which he would have done without investigation or thought.

   A younger, more able and perceptive doctor has to be called in, to the shock of whoever the murderer was, and he does not find the death natural.

   A hypodermic puncture in her arm leads him to believe, correctly as it turns out, that someone has injected insulin into the woman. Since she was not suffering from diabetes, death was the inevitable result.

E. C. R. LORAC I Could Murder Her

   The characterizations of those in the household are well done, particularly the one of Mrs. Pinks, the charwoman. The motives of each of the family members who may have killed Muriel Farrington are set forth clearly.

   The investigator, Chief Inspector Macdonald of the C.I.D., a continuing character in many of Lorac’s novels, is not very distinct, however. He is quiet, kind, considerate, and an excellent investigator in his own way, but that’s all that is learned about him.

   Perhaps Lorac had delineated Macdonald in his earlier cases. Nonetheless, she could have taken a little more effort here to acquaint new readers with him.

   A fairish-play novel. The murderer was evident to me, and I don’t spot too many. The clues are psychological rather than physical.

From The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 9, No. 3, May/June 1987.