Murder Among Friends by Elizabeth Ferrars was published in April 1946 and it’s sometimes titled Cheat the Hangman. It begins at a party which is being given by Cecily Lightwood, the setting is London in wartime and the guests at the party are mainly literary types. They’re all waiting for Aubrey Ritter to turn up, it seems like without him the party is never going to get going. He doesn’t have far to come, in fact he’s living in a flat just upstairs.
Another visitor to the block of flats alerts them to the fact that a murder has been committed. It seems like a very simple case to crack and the culprit is caught and convicted very quickly. But is the verdict correct?
I enjoyed this one which has a good wartime/blackout atmosphere, when it was an advantage to have a heavy drinker with you who could tell you how many steps up every pub had from the pavement, when you went out on a pub crawl.
There’s an interesting cast of characters and clothes are important in the book, with lots of descriptions of what the women in particular were wearing, such as:
Her coat was of a grey Indian lamb, worn over a scarlet woollen dress which was held in round her far from slender waist by a belt of gilded leather. She had a heavy gilt necklace round her throat and chunks of gilt screwed on to the lobes of her ears. With her fair hair done up in a gaudily striped turban, showing on her forehead in a cluster of dishevelled curls, with her fresh, fair skin, blue eyes and soft full lips, gaudily daubed with a few haphazard strokes of lipstick, she was like some magnificent doll, come to exuberant life.
In fact clothes play quite an important part in this book.
This one qualifies for the Read Scotland 2015 challenge as Elizabeth Ferrars was of Scottish descent despite being born in India and she lived in Edinburgh for 20 years.