20 out of 20 stars
Originally published in 1948 (republished in 1981) Stephanie Tey (AKA Gordon Daviot and born Elizabeth MacKintosh) takes swipes at physiognomy, the pseudo-science of ascribing characteristics of personality or morality based on facial features, and the myth genteel poverty. Although Robert Blair, respected senior partner and third or fourth generation of a country law firm, tries not to get caught up in a mystery, tries to ignore superstitions like witchcraft and racist/classist nonsense like physiognomy, and the allure of a knight in shining armor fairy-tale rescue of a damsel in distress, he is swept into all of them.
Widely praised and thoroughly loved back in 1948, this is still a compelling tale and a look back at a time when tabloid reporting was just beginning to ruin lives and reputations, lawyers were still basically decent people trying to do the right thing, and the police and Scotland Yard were limited in what they could accomplish before the introduction of CCTV, CSI teams, computers, and (thank goodness) cell phones.
Highly recommended for a break from high tech crime stories and graphic sex scenes of most romance books. You don’t even need to like crime, detective, or romance to enjoy this story—although it does help if you are interested in how the world worked before AI ruled the world. A must read for any literature major.