|The Skeleton in the
Dell 481 (1951)
That old expert on supernatural phenomena, the famous Sir Henry Merrivale, prods the
police into re-opening the Fleet case twenty years after it has been written off as a
death by accident, and has himself a rollicking time tracking down the most vicious killer
in his long and colorful career.
Persons in the mystery:
Sir Henry Merrivale:
blustering, barrel-shaped solver of "impossible" crimes, is faced with a murder
mystery worthy of his amazing talents - and a golden opportunity to renew his
long-standing feud with the crusty old Countess of Brayle.
tall, good-looking, and likable, is a highly successful artist. Just now he is nervous and
thin as the result of a fruitless hunt for a girl he kissed on a station platform on a mad
evening three years, one month, and five days ago.
a slender, eager blonde, is in love with Martin, but her engagement to Richard Fleet
presents an annoying complication. Jenny hasn't much sense of humor and her serene and
lovely face hides violent emotions.
Jenny's fiancÚ, is an athletic young man of great charm and good humor. He has known
Jenny since they were children, and as far as she is concerned, their engagement was
a pretty and thoroughly nice young woman, likes Martin more than a little, and admires his
faculty for idiotic behavior. She thinks he's a fool to waste his time looking for a girl
he knows almost nothing about.
a stocky, brilliant criminal lawyer, is brimful of self-confidence - except where Ruth is
concerned. He has some ideas about "earth-bound spirits" and thinks the
execution shed of a prison would be a wonderful place to test them out.
Sophi, Dowager Countess of Brayle,
Jenny's dominating grandmother, is a large, commanding woman who speaks at public meetings
and is give to rakish, even skittish, hats - and habits. She and H.M. react on each other
like a match and powder keg.
Lady Cicely Fleet,
Richard's fluttery and doting mother, is still pretty in spite of a serious heart
condition. She carries within her some sort of burden that dates back to her husband's
death two decades ago.
Doctor Hugh Laurier,
the Fleet family physician, is a precise, fastidious, conservative man with a pince-nez
and an ascetic face. He is the son of the "old doctor" who was in attendance at
the "accidental" death of Sir George fleet.
landlord of Dragon's Rest Inn across the road from Fleet House, was one of half a dozen
eyewitnesses to the strange death of Sir George Fleet.
Arthur's daughter, is a pretty, lively, and intelligent girl of 16, and the pride of her
who runs the largest and noisiest traveling carnival in England, has a shrewd idea that
H.M. is probably the greatest showman of them all.
grizzled Chief Inspector of Scotland Yard's Criminal Investigation department, is large
and burly and usually as bland as a card-sharper, but there is the distinct possibility
that some day H.M. will drive him stark, raving mad.
Lady Cicely's bored maid, has been conditioned by her war-time experiences with American
GI's and the result is some rather startling behavior.