Death in High Heels
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Inspector Charlesworth investigates a strange murder in a dress shop
The sales room at Christophe et Cie is staffed by five young women. Each is beautiful in her own way—and each could be a murderer. One morning, two of the women purchase some oxalic acid to clean a stain off a Panama hat. No one knows how the poison gets into Miss Doon’s system, but it doesn’t take long to kill her. When Inspector Charlesworth steps into the little shop, he finds a dozen motives and no clear solution. Everyone in the shop was jealous of Miss Doon, for as the owner’s girlfriend she was the favorite to head up the store’s new Riviera branch. Romantic feelings for his chief suspect sidetrack Charlesworth, and it takes a second murder to put him back on the trail of the killer.
“Utterly delightful.” —The Times “You have to reach for the greatest of Great Names to find Brand’s rivals in the subtleties of the trade.” —The New York Times “One of the great masters of English detective fiction.” —Francis M. Nevins, author of Cornell Woolrich
Christianna Brand (1907–1988) was one of the most popular authors of the Golden Age of British mystery writing. Born in Malaya and raised in India, Brand used her experience as a salesgirl as inspiration for her first novel, Death in High Heels, which she based on a fantasy of murdering an irritating coworker. The same year, she debuted her most famous character, Inspector Cockrill, whose adventures she followed until 1957. The film version of the second Cockrill mystery, Green for Danger, is considered one of the best-ever screen adaptations of a classic English mystery. Brand also found success writing children’s fiction. Her Nurse Matilda series, about a grotesque nanny who tames ill-behaved children, was adapted for the screen in 2005, as Nanny McPhee. Brand received Edgar Award nominations for the short stories “Twist for Twist” and “Poison in the Cup”, as well as one for her nonfiction work Heaven Knows Who. The author of more than two dozen novels, she died in 1988.