Readers familiar with Gilbert's matchless spy stories (Game Without Rules, 1967, etc.) will be especially grateful to have these 18 previously uncollected stories from 1948 through 1979. The short-shorts (featuring either Chief Inspector Hazlerigg or the solicitor Bohun) are notable for the ingenuity and variety of their riddles (how could a wanted man disappear from a deserted street? which of three men gave the fellow train-traveler in their compartment a fatal heart attack, and how?); the mid-length stories, especially a cycle of three linked tales featuring brutish, fallen Chief Inspector Mercer, are striking examples of Gilbert's wit and compression; and the title story, which sets Inspector Patrick Petrella against a man who robs banks to work off a grudge, is flavorsome and eventful enough to serve a less polished professional for a full-length novel.
Pure pleasureand a particular treat for readers who've been following Gilbert for any substantial fraction of the last 50 years.