Reviewed by

BERNARD CAPES – The Skeleton Key. Collins, UK, hardcover, 1919. US title: The Mystery of the Skeleton Key. Doran, hardcover, 1918. Also available in several current POD editions, and can be read online at

   If Hugh had returned from hunting by another path, or if he had left his gun behind him, or if one could have told just when the shot was heard, perhaps the murder of beautiful Annie Evans might have been cleared up without so much effort on the part of the famous Sergeant Ridgeway from Scotland Yard, or so much mutual suspicion on the part of the various guests assembled at the Hall.

   Baron Le Sage of doubtful fame might have gone on playing chess, and pretty Audrey’s love affairs might not have become so tangled. But it’s just as well as it is, perhaps, for the result of all these complications is a thoroughly exciting detective story.

— Reprinted from Black Mask magazine, August 1920.

Biographic Note: From Capes’ Wikipedia page:

    “Capes was a prolific Victorian author, publishing more than forty volumes – romances, mysteries, poetry, history – together with many articles for the magazines of the day. His early writing career was as a journalist, later becoming editor of a paper called The Theatre, which was well known in late nineteenth century London. Other magazines for which Capes wrote included Blackwood’s, Butterfly, Cassell’s, Cornhill Magazine, Hutton’s Magazine, Illustrated London News, Lippincott’s, Macmillan’s Magazine, Literature, New Witness, Pall Mall Magazine, Pearson’s Magazine, The Idler, The New Weekly, and The Queen.”