Friday, July 29, 2016

Death's Bright Dart by V. C. Clinton-Baddeley

Dr. Davie, a Cambridge professor, was attending a conference which was being held at his college. There were a wide variety of people in attendance. There were explorers and physicians and scientists who came from England, the United States, and Eastern Europe. The actual subject matter of the conference was a bit vague but Mostyn-Humphries, an undergraduate at the college believed that it had something to do with poisons. The star speaker at the conference was Dr. Brauer who was doing scientific research on something or other. He was not a popular man with all of the conference attendees who had professional envy of his position or who just did not like him.

The attendees enjoyed the beginning meeting of the conference, and the beauty of the college of St. Nicholas. Many of them also found time to visit the Missionary exhibition at a local museum. There were the expected exhibits of native crafts and utensils. Most of the visitors were most interested in the exhibit of native weapons and especially the blow guns.

Dr. Brauer asked Dr. Davie to visit him in this rooms before Brauer gave his speech to the conference. Brauer told Davie that he was extremely worried that someone was trying to kill him. He told Davie that he had named Davie as the executor of his estate. He also told Davie about medical activities that he had been forced to carry out at Auschwitz with the notorious Dr. Pavik during World War II. Brauer was sure that he had seen someone from those days who would remember him.

At the conference, Dr. Brauer went on the stage to deliver his speech. He had just begun to speak when he put his hand on his neck as though he was warding off a mosquito. Then he fell forward on the platform and died.

Dr. Davie was intensely interested in Dr. Brauer, his death, and his activities during the war. There had been a theft of a blowgun from the Missionary exhibition at the museum, and several of the conference participants were knowledgeable about the preparation of the poisons which the natives had used on blowgun darts.  Following Brauer's death, there would be a suicide, and the puzzling death of a mild mannered conference participant who appeared to have no link to Brauer at all.

This Silver Age mystery is in the best tradition of the Golden Age. Much depends on the position of the conference attendees at the time of the murder. Fortunately there is a map of the conference location included in the book. Also,  much depends on a timetable of events following the murder. I like Dr. Davie as a detective. He is thoughtful, intelligent, and quite charming.  This is the first book in the series of five that V. C. Clinton-Baddeley wrote in the years from 1967 - 1972. This book was published in 1967 and is available in paperback and ebook formats.

I have read this book for the 2016 Silver Mystery Cover Scavenger Hunt in the category of a book with a blue object on the cover.




No comments: