I ordered "The Crooked Hinge" after reading the glowing Amazon reviews of the book, and it's really one of the first few times that I have been seriously disappointed in that source. Published in 1938, the book has an interesting premise; two men--survivors of the 1912 Titanic sinking--both claim to be the heir to a title and estate in the English county of Kent. At a showdown meeting between the claimants, one of them dies, and although there are witnesses, it is initially impossible to determine whether the death is suicide or murder.
From the claimant's death onward, the story is crammed with arcane dialogue and little other action. My biggest problem with this short book is the stilted and opaque language that doesn't allow any real flow to the story. A second criticism is the lack of flesh and blood in the characters. They have no credibility as living people with personal stories, and when they speak, their language is alternately blustering, convoluted or hysterical. This is the antithesis of an Agatha Christie mystery of the same period, where the plot is advanced by open and meaningful dialogue. At "Hinge's" end, the whole tortured mess is brought to a close by an improbable letter from the killer who sums up in numbing detail how crimes were committed and for what reason.
My advice is to avoid this book and the stick with Agatha Christie, if you want a period mystery.