I think that in the US this book goes under the title of The Moonflower Mystery, I bought it ages ago when I was on a bit of a Beverley Nichols reading spree. I read all of his gardening/house memoirs which I really enjoyed and when I discovered that he had written some crime fiction I decided to see what they were like, then promptly put this one on a pile and forgot about it. It was first published in 1955 and it was only when Joan @Planet Joan mentioned that she had read one that I remembered I had bought this one so pulled it out. You can read what Joan thought of the one she read, Murder by Request here.
In fact The Moonflower isn’t all that unlike the one Joan read as Nichols seems to have stuck to a gardening/plant theme and cats also get a mention. The detective is Mr Horatio Green and the setting is the edge of Dartmoor. A prisoner has escaped from the prison and he’s the third one to have escaped in six months.
Meanwhile Mr Green is ensconced in a little inn, The Greyhound, in the hamlet of Moreton Fallow and the inhabitants aren’t happy about yet another dangerous prisoner on the loose but Mr Green is more interested in a rare flower which is just about to bloom at Candle Court, the local big house. The Moonflower’s seeds cost £1,000 each and of the 13 seeds which had been obtained only seven of them have germinated. Green is determined to see the rare flower and finds himself involved in a murder of course.
This was okay-ish and mildly diverting but I prefer Beverley Nichols’ earlier books about his own life, gardens and houses.