Saturday, 10 April 2021

The Deadly Truth: A Dr Basil Willing Mystery by Helen McCloy

The Deadly Truth: A Dr Basil Willing Mystery by Helen McCloy
First published in 1941. Republished by Agora Books on the 25th March 2021.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When psychologist Dr Basil Willing rents a cottage on Long Island for a vacation, he falls into the company of his landlady, Claudia Bethune and her friends.

But when Claudia throws a last minute dinner party with a special cocktail, Basil’s relaxing holiday takes a turn. It seems Claudia’s drink du jour has in fact been laced with a new truth serum. And as secrets begin to spill, everyone is on edge.

When morning comes, it seems there are some lasting effects to the night’s imbibing: the hostess herself is found dead at the table.

Now, all thoughts of holiday set aside, Dr Willing finds himself at the heart of the murder case. Will he be able to use his skills to untangle the lies from the truth and bring the killer to justice?

The Deadly Truth is the third in Helen McCloy's 'Dr Basil Willing' series of golden age mysteries. It took me a little while to really get immersed in this story but, once I did, I appreciated the intricacies of the plotting. I loved the Long Island setting too, especially the isolated Blessingbourne country house setting. The weekend party gathering brings together a disparate group of deftly portrayed characters all of whom profess to be friends, but whose underlying grievances come to the fore as Claudia Bethune's party rapidly descends into chaos. McCloy had a wonderful talent for writing these crime stories, liberally sprinkling genuine clues and plausible red herrings throughout each chapter. Her central character, Dr Willing, has a greater personal depth than is often the case with classic detective novels, and his bringing of psychological expertise to each case has kept me pleasantly intrigued throughout all three books in this series so far. I'm already looking forward to a fourth!

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Helen McCloy / Crime fiction / Books from America

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