In this novel, Dr. Thorndyke builds a card house of wild speculations to solve a perplexing murder case, astonishing all observers, including the police.
The victim is Julius D 'Arblay, an artist highly skilled at the rare French art of making wax-work figures and portrait masks. D'Arblay has a beautiful daughter, which leads to a romance with a young Dr. Grey who discovers ther father's body and brings the case to Dr. Thorndyke's attention. The great man embraces the case with enthusiasm as a "pretty puzzle."
There are lots of great scenes: stalking scenes, vicious attacks on Dr. Gray and Marion with various weapons, a sinister scene in a dense yellow London fog, a humorous exhumation of a dead man of dubious identity, and very funny vignettes with a tippler of an old doctor advising Gray on how to handle troublesome patients. Thorndyke's lovable lab assistant Polton has a starring role in this novel.
I loved this novel, as I have all the Thorndyke mysteries. I'd suggest reading them in order to get familiar with the charming atmosphere of Thorndyke's quarters in the Inner Temple and Polton's delightful personality.