This is the first Albert Campion novel and, in true and tested Golden Age style, it is set at a weekend party at a remote country house. We meet Campion through the main character who, in this book, is Dr George Abbershaw. When Dr Abbershaw first arrives, he is only concerned with his love for Margaret Oliphant, who he is planning to propose to. However, during the evening, Wyatt Petrie, who invited him, tells the tale of the Black Dudley Dagger - in 1500 a guest was found murdered with the dagger, which was then passed around and betrayed the killer. A game is proposed, in which the lights should be turned off and the dagger passed around - when the lights are put on, the person with the dagger should pay a forfeit. However, during the game, Petrie's elderly uncle is murdered.
What follows is a tale of murder, organised crimes, car chases, escapes and hidden plans. Albert Campion is described as 'a lunatic' and he certainly seems an empty headed 'bright young thing', although he obviously has hidden depths. This is an enjoyable story, rather typical, but a good start to a series which gets much better as it progresses.