"Wilder and more diverting experiences than those which befall Leonidas Witherall are seldom found anywhere except in books by Alice Tilton (Phoebe Atwood Taylor)."—The New York Times
From the jacket:
"Leonidas Witherall, who is the splitting image of Bill Shakespeare, runs pell-mell into another amazing mystery, written in superlative humor-cum-homicide manner.
"Bill" Witherall is a mystery writer himself. In his housekeeper's "candied" opinion, his clews are too out of this world. So his next book is to begin with an innocent-looking brown paper package. This simple decision starts a chain of events in which the old octopus of fate puts out all eight tentacles. Even before Leonidas gets to his dinner engagement with Fenwick Balderston, the chase is on—with Leonidas both the pursuer and the pursued, on that surprising snowy night in Dalton, Framfield, and environs.
Balderston Hall ("If anyone ever thought of making an iron wedding cake, it would resemble this house") is the scene of unprecedented happenings, especially when the suspicious Dr. Fell arrives with his cheese. The clews, not all of them iron, appear in delightful confusion, together with a train of lively characters who help and hinder Leonidas in his Odyssey.
Leonidas Witherall tilts for mystery honors with Asey Mayo, the Hayseed Sleuth of Cape Cod, and The Iron Clew will rate a place among the most amusing items on the mystery shelf."
Phoebe Atwood Taylor published over 30 mystery novels featuring either Asey Mayo (the Codfish Sherlock) or Leonidas Witherall (nicknamed "Bill Shakespeare" due to a more-than-passing resemblance to the Bard). Taylor lived almost her entire life in Massachusetts, giving her a familiarity with local geography and culture that is reflected in her always-charming mysteries.