At Sir Hubert Handesley’s country house party, five guests have gathered for the uproarious parlor game of “Murder.” Yet no one is laughing when the lights come up on an actual corpse, the good-looking and mysterious Charles Rankin. Scotland Yard’s Inspector Roderick Alleyn arrives to find a complete collection of alibis, a missing butler, and an intricate puzzle of betrayal and sedition in the search for the key player in this deadly game
Cant believe I’ve read so many Alleyn books, but have taken this long to get to read #1.
This book starts with Nigel Bathgate, junior reporter and ongoing stalwart of the series, being invited to a country house weekend with his cousin. There he meets Angela, and a number of other characters, and during a game of “murders” finds his cousin murdered with a knife in his back.
Alleyn arrives to investigate, still young and an Inspector (somehow morphing into the better known CHIEF inspector near the end of the book. The other usual cast – such as Fox – dont make it into this first novel. There is a little diversion (Maguffin) over the Russian community in London, which allows for the dagger to be used in the murder.
Alleyn is a little moodier than in later novels, still being young and possibly not fleshed out as in later novels. Not sure I would have continued with the series had I come across this book first.