Miss Odell has kept company with a number of admirers at one time or another and their ranks provide the suspects: socialite Charles Cleaver, wealthy manufacturer Kenneth Spotswoode, fur importer Louis Mannix, and neurologist Dr Lindquist, not to mention professional burglar Tony Skeel. Philo Vance investigates to the babble of his usual erudite running commentary, seeking answers to such questions as how did the murderer get into Miss Odell's flat without being observed? What was the motive? Could more than one person be involved?
My verdict: The novels in this series always require some suspension of belief, what with Vance and his biographer/narrator Van Dine traipsing around crime scenes with the connivance of DA Markham, in this entry to the extent of lying about in Miss Odell's flat smoking themselves silly. Then there's the question of Vance being permitted to participate in police interviews. But if you lock your disbelief in the cupboard the story rattles along quite well, or at least until the closing stages wherein the identity of the murderer is deduced via a poker game in DA Markham's home, a daring stroke of plotting, I admit, but somehow it felt curiously flat. This is probably because I'm not a poker player so the lengthy explanation needed acted as a brake on the action for me. And how did the murderer get into the locked flat unseen? GAD fans will probably know the method from elsewhere but my gripe is Vance coneals the necessary information from Markham *and* the reader until very late in the game. So ultimately a bit of a disappointment for this reviewer at least.