William F. Deeck

CHRISTIANNA BRAND – Death in High Heels. Charles Scribner’s Sons, US, hardcover, 1942, 1954; John Lane-Bodley Head, UK, hardcover, 1941. Carroll & Graf, US, paperback, 1989.

BRAND Death in High Heels

   There are some problems among the personnel at Cristophe et Cie, home of possibly haute couture. Frank Bevan, proprietor and manager, has a tendency to become physically interested in his employees, with the exception of Macaroni, the secretary, and Mrs. ’Arris, the charlady, and possibly Mr. Cecil, the dress designer, the latter of whom might have enjoyed Bevan’s attentions. Some jealousy and backbiting also have arisen about a position at the new branch at Deauville.

   It would seem unlikely that such hard feelings would give rise to anything worse than hairpulling. But one afternoon Miss Boon, Bevan’s left hand in the business and the chosen one to go to Deauvilie, becomes ill and dies as a result of the ingestion of oxalic acid.

   To find out whether Boon’s death was accident, suicide or murder, Inspector Charlesworth, young, inexperienced, and given to falling in love at first sight and to thinking each of these loves is the real thing, is assigned to the case. No sooner does he discover that it was indeed murder than he is faced with deciding if Boon was in fact the intended recipient of the poison.

   Charlesworth is baffled by the complexities of the case. His superior turns over primary control of the case to Charlesworth’s senior, Inspector Smithers, not knowing that between the two of them is hearty detestation. Smithers, of course, suspects and arrests one of the shop’s mannequins, the very female that Charlesworth has fallen in love with. Fortunately, Charlesworth comes to the rescue by discovering the guilty party.

   Another excellent mystery novel by Brand. It is well clued, well written, amusing — all that her fans have come to expect of her.

— From The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 10, No. 1, Winter 1988.

NOTE: This book has been reviewed once before on this blog, the earlier occasion by Curt Evans. Check out what he had to say here.