HILLARY WAUGH – Murder on the Terrace. Foulsham, UK, hardcover, 1961. No US edition.

   One of Waugh’s quality police procedurals and a fairly early one at that. It precedes the Fred Fellows series (though it was published later than the first of them) and stars big, tough, apparently unimaginat1ve police chief, Amos Camp.

   It is interesting to note that in the recent article by Waugh on his character Fellows (in The Great Detectives, edited by Otto Penzler; Little Brown, 1978),   he refers to Camp as “the father of Fred Fellows” and so he is, in a purely evolutionary  way.

   The crime that he is called upon  to investigate is the strange killing of well-to-do Phyllis Slayton in her home in the exclusive district of the small town of Marshton [somewhere in New England].

   Her husband and neighbours comprise the suspects and first one arrest is made and then another. But the pieces don’t fit until Camp (“I don’t think, I dig”) has painstakingly collected all the evidence together, sifted through it and produced the solution.

   Camp is an excellent invention but the story. doesn’t have the impact of either Last Seen Wearing or the underrated A Rag and a Bone. But it is a Waugh procedural and who could really ask for more than that?  No one has ever done them better than the master and the real mysteries are therefore:

1. Why has he now abandoned them? (Well, I suppose that all good things have to come to an end.)

2. Why has no American publisher put out this book? (And for that I can think of no reason whatsoever.)

Final footnote. In all my years of collecting Ive only once come across this book — and I’m sitting tight on that one.

– Reprinted from The Poison Pen, Volume 2, Number 5 (Sept-Oct 1979).