ALICE TILTON – The Iron Clew. Leonidas Witherall #7. Leonidas Farrar Straus & Co., hardcover, 1947. Foul Play Press, paperback, 1992.

   “In one foul sweep,” says Mrs. Mullet, housekeeper to Leonidas Witherall … and though that memorable malapropism occurs on the last page, it is characteristic of the entire book. Phoebe Atwood Taylor, writing as Alice Tilton, packs more misapprehensions, missed appointments, and mistaken identities into one book than any mystery writer I know.

   They are funny, too, unless the reader tries to read too many of her books one after the  other and falls afoul of the basic likenesses of plot, characters, and even clues in them all.

   Nevertheless, this romp through winterset New England towns,  chasing missing brown paper packages, and finding missing people, is hilarious if you don’t think too seriously about what is going on. Don’t try to believe it, just enjoy it, is my advice!

– Reprinted from The Poison Pen, Volume 3, Number 4 (July-August 1980).