Plot or Premise
A professor is killed, and a young student in love with him confesses to the murder. But there are lots of other more likely suspects.
What I Liked
Eustis won the 1947 Edgar Award for Best First Novel, and it is easy to see why it won. The sense of place is strong, and a strong foreboding all the way through the novel adds some suspense. There is more than a hint of psychological darkness lurking in the shadows.
What I Didn’t Like
There are some parts that just don’t hold up. The understanding of mental health disorders was not very rich, and the interactions of the two protagonists are misogynistic to read (he continually calls her fatty and comments when she drinks a beer that there too many calories). There’s also an underlying current that women are nothing without a man. Hard to read in 2019, even as historical. The red herrings are clear by midway through the novel, and the solution / foreshadowing is obvious, leaving the last 40% of the novel just “get to it, already”.
The Bottom Line
Doesn’t hold up through the years.