In the peaceful seaside town of Broadgate, an impossible crime occurs. The operator of the cliff railway locks the empty carriage one evening; when he returns to work next morning, a dead body is locked inside - a man who has been stabbed in the back. Jimmy London, a newspaper reporter, is first on the scene. He is quick on the trail for clues - and agrees to pool his knowledge with Inspector Shelley of Scotland Yard, who is holidaying in the area. Mistrustful of the plodding local policeman, Inspector Beech, the two men launch their own investigation into the most baffling locked-room mystery - a case that could reignite Jimmy's flagging career, but one that exposes him to great danger.
Convalescing after an operation in the small town Broadgate reporter Jimmy London stumbles on a dead body inside a locked carriage. Who is the man and how was the crime committed? While waiting for the police London searches the victim’s pockets and comes upon some important information which enables him to help his friend, Inspector Shelley from Scotland Yard. The two decide to investigate the case together. Soon they find out that the victim might have had ties to organised crime. There are plenty of suspects to question, but it’s not before long, that another dead body appears, putting pressure on the sleuths, to get to the bottom of this baffling case.
John Rowland was one of those obscure Golden Age writers the British Library Crime Classics specialises in. Even though this book was published in 1950, with its impossible mystery and amateur sleuth it seems like a throwback to pre-war times.
On the surface this is an easy, undemanding read. However the narrator has a tendency to overexplain things and repeat certain perfectly obvious facts ad nauseam. With good editing the book could have easily been shortened by about 30-40 pages. This could explain why it took me about three weeks to finish this novel.
This is a solid example of a whodunit, but did not necessarily make me want to read more by this author.