This fifth case in the career of Rocky Allan, homespun sheriff who has found great favor both with readers and reviewers, opened one rainswept night when Rocky encountered a drenched stranger who asked him the way to Brookdale’s only hotel. The stranger, with a phony English accent, parted from Rocky with the cryptic sentence, “Has it occurred to you, Mr. Allan, that it’s an excellent night for murder?”
About noon the following day the stranger’s words were found to be prophetic when the man was discovered shot to death in his room at the hotel. The great surprise came when it was discovered that the stranger was in some way connected with the Graydons. As Rocky’s deputy exclaimed, “The Graydons—there’s got to be some mistake!” “Yeah, I know, the royal fam’ly of Brookdale. Sanctified and sacred,” Rocky drawled. “But just why it’s got to be a mistake is somethin’ you’ll have to explain to me; carefully, and in words of one syllable.”
He found the Graydon clan close-mouthed, deceptive, and obviously eager to cover up their relationship with the murdered man. Despite their reluctance to have anything to do with the truth, Rocky’s investigation finally brought to light the maid who had been fired for “hearing ghosts”, and the “few odds and ends” which gave the original impetus to a series of murders which would never have been consummated had it not been for a newspaper story. In the end, with the aid of a fake phone call and a fresh bruise, Rocky was able to reveal a completely unexpected murderer.
An Excellent Night for Murder was published in 1937.
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