William F. Deeck

THURMAN WARRINER – Method in His Murder. Macmillan, US, hardcover, 1950. First published in the UK: Hodder & Stoughton, hardcover, 1950.

    “Unquestionably, if Rhoda had been his wife, Mr. Ambo would have contemplated murder.” Ambo’s godson, John Wainfleet, who is married to Rhoda, contemplates nothing but a life of obedience to her demands.

    Or so it seems, until he reveals to Ambo that, after producing a satirical crime novel that had a modest success and a play that was still going strong, and after being told by Rhoda that he would have to stick to being a solicitor, he has a secret life in which he lives, though perish the thought not in sin, with another woman two days a week and writes successful novels under a pseudonym.

   Things are in this state temporarily, and then Rhoda’s brother ostensibly dies in an auto accident. The young doctor who examines the corpse believes death occurred before the accident, and apparently so do the police.

   Wainfleet and another man who were with Rhoda’s brother before the accident have perfect alibis. Well, Wainfleet does until Ambo starts investigating and discovers more than he wants to.

   This is the first novel featuring the investigations of Charles Ambo; Archdeacon Grantius Fauxlihough Toft, an unusual clergyman who believes in the Devil and burglary; and John Franklin Cornelius Scotter, private investigator. It is well worth discovering by those who enjoy humor, a fine prose style, and three engaging characters.

— From The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 12, No. 4, Fall 1990.

     Bibliographic Notes:

 The Ambo, Toft & Scotter series —

Method in His Murder (n.) Hodder 1950.
Ducats in Her Coffin (n.) Hodder 1951.
Death’s Dateless Night (n.) Hodder 1952.


The Doors of Sleep (n.) Hodder 1955.


Death’s Bright Angel (n.) Hodder 1956.
She Died, Of Course (n.) Hodder 1958.
Heavenly Bodies (n.) Hodder 1960.

   Only the first of these was published in the US. Warriner wrote one other mystery under his own name, another twelve as by Simon Troy, and one as John Kersey. Inspector Charles Smith appeared in all but one of the Troy books, the most well-known probably being Road to Rhuine (1952), and had a cross-over appearance in She Died, Of Course above.