Saturday, 15 December 2012

The Charing Cross Mystery by J S Fletcher

Traveling home in the last east-bound train in London, Heatherwick couldn't help noticing the two men who boarded the almost empty train in St. James Square. They talk about recognising a woman even after such a long time, and suddenly one of them drops dead. The other gets down in Charing Cross station promising to bring a doctor. As we all know, he has disappeared. The dead man was poisoned. Who is the man who ran away in Charing Cross? Who is the lady he was talking about? Is it related to this death? What are the blue stains in the murdered man's hands? Heatherwick, a young barrister, has all the time in the world to investigate. More so because Robert Hannaford, the dead man, has a beautiful daughter.

Heatherwick believes that the lady Hannaford was talking about, is the key to the mystery. With the help of the newspaper cutting in Hannaford's belongings, Heatherwick tries to trace the lady. He also finds out that Hannaford was an amateur scientist and he was on to inventing something that would make hime rich. What happened to the man who ran away at Charing cross station? Was he responsible for Hannaford's death? Heatherwick gets into finding these with some help from the police inspector Matherfield.

It is a complicated, confusing and intriguing story that involves scientific inventions, blackmail, stolen diamond necklace, impersonation, mistaken-identities, kidnapping and of course murders. At the midway point, I lost interest because of something that happened. Most of the mysteries is solved at the midway point. What happens later is the climax stuff we see in movies- kidnapping, rescue and final apprehension.

The Charing Cross Mystery published in 1923 is available as a free ebook from Manybooks website.

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