William F. Deeck

MARCH EVERMAY – They Talked of Poison. Macmillan, US, hardcover, June 1938.

   On Wednesday nights during the academic season, Harry Curry, professor of sociology at Penfield University, delivers his criminology lectures at his home. Afterwards, Curry’s wife serves refreshments, of which the family dog usually partakes. After one session the dog dies suddenly, possibly the victim of poison. Later that night one of the attendees, the Rev. Dr. Perley, is found dead in his car in Curry’s garage; his death, however, is deemed natural.

   Perley’s daughter has made a bad marriage to a writer of awful — in the literary sense — semipornography, in unthinking reaction after Perley had told her she could not marry a divorced doctor. Shortly after her father’s death, she commits suicide. Or so it seems until Curry’s niece, who is the narrator here but appears to have no personality, spots an anomaly.

   This is a very complex and leisurely case, with interesting characters, especially the clergyman’s wife, who fears what the congregation will think and may have murdered both her husband and her daughter for that reason. For nearly fifty pages the police detective explains who didn’t do it before he reveals who did do it, but the time is well spent by the reader who wants his or her money’s worth.

— From The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 11, No. 1, Winter 1989.


   According to Hubin, March Evermay was the pen name of Mathilde Eiker, 1893-1982. She wrote one other work of detection fiction, This Death Was Murder (Macmillan, 1940), also with Inspector Glover, whom Bill seems not to have mentioned by name.

   A one-line summary of the Kirkus review of this book: “Baltimore is the setting for the detailed unravelling of crimes solved more satisfactorily for the group than for the reader.” The one in Saturday Review is more favorable: “Almost unguessable riddle…”

   The bad news is that here is, when last I looked, about five minutes ago, only one copy of this book offered for sale online. You can find it on Amazon from a third party seller for a mere $325.