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WILLIAM JOHNSTON The Mystery of the Ritsmore

WILLIAM JOHNSTON – The Mystery in the Ritsmore. Little Brown & Co., hardcover, 12 June 1920, $1.75.

   A bride on her honeymoon opens the door of her bedroom closet in the Ritsmore Hotel, and the body of a beautiful stranger with a dagger thrust through her heart falls out at her feet.

   The sympathy of Anne Blair, a young woman guest at the same hotel, is aroused by the sad predicament of the bridal couple, since the husband is at once accused of the murder. From sheer love of mystery, Anne starts an investigation of her own, helped by John Rush, the private secretary of another guest, multi-millionaire Harrison Hardy.

   Her quest leads through a labyrinth of clues, among complications of an international character, into most amazing developments. From a simple murder mystery, seemingly solved without difficulty by the police, it becomes an affair of such magnitude that its finals clearance discloses a plot with almost endless ramifications.

— Reprinted from Black Mask magazine, August 1920.

Bibliographical Notes: Of the author, Al Hubin in Crime Fiction IV says: “WILLIAM (Andrew) JOHNSTON, 1871-1929. Born in Pittsburgh; graduate of Western University; newspaperman and public relations executive.” Although it seems possible that it was, this book was not part of a series. Between 1910 and 1928, Johnston wrote nine crime and mystery novels included in CFIV. Of this particular novel, a reviewer for the New York Times Book Review (18 July 1920) said: “Opening a closet door in her room at the Ritsmore Hotel, Betty Le Baron, a bride of three days, is horrified at … This is the beginning of one of the most thrilling and up-to-date detective and mystery stories of the year.”