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The Postmaster's Daughter...
John Menzies Grant strolled carelessly across the flower-scented yard of his country home one fine June morning, down to the riverbank ... and discovered the dead body of a beautiful young woman.
It doesn't take long for the constable from the nearby village of Steynholme to decide that Grant makes a fine suspect. Particularly when it turns out Grant had known the victim in London, and that she had arrived in Steynholme a few days earlier and had immediately begun making inquiries about Grant. Grant's foolish - if honorable - attempt to keep the name of lovely young Doris Martin, daughter of the local postmaster, out of the affair complicates matters as circumstantial evidence, local gossip and the machinations of one Mr. Isidor G. Ingerman build a case against him.
But while local authorities are confident that the case against Grant is simple and solid, it falls to the famed Scotland Yard duo of Winter & Furneaux to unravel a complex mystery that begins with a spectral face peering through a window and ends with the guilty party ... and the lovely young postmaster's daughter right in the middle of it all.
Louis Tracy (1863-1928) was a prolific British writer of both fiction and nonfiction. Despite his large body of work, comparatively little is known about Tracy's life. The author of numerous mysteries, Tracy's works are characterized by a straightforward narrative style, well-developed background stories, interesting characters and complex plots.
Offered a job as a reporter in response to a letter he submitted to a local paper Tracy became a newspaperman, eventually serving as editor of the English-language Morning Post in Allahabad, India.
Between 1885 and 1895 Tracy wrote and edited a series of nonfiction books and short stories, based for the most part on his experiences in India. In 1895 he outlined his first novel, about a European conflict in which America would come to the aid of Britain in a great war which would be the end of all war, was published as a serial in "Pearson's Weekly" and later in book form. "The Final War" was quite successful and is a pioneering example of the "Future War" or "Future History" sub-genre of science fiction and fantasy literature. Tracy actually wrote this novel in separate episodes as they became due, rather than submitting portions of a finished work.
By 1900 Tracy was producing straightforward mystery novels on a regular basis, and with the exception of 1917-1919, when he was rousing support for the war effort in America, he continued to publish an average two or three novels per year through the 1920's, and a collection of his works was reissued after his death. A few of his novels are still fairly well-known, and many of his mysteries, especially those featuring Reginald Brett and Winter & Furneaux, are still read and enjoyed by mystery fans today.