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The Nursing Home Murder
on 16 May 2015
This is the third novel featuring Roderick Alleyn and was first published in 1935. Home Secretary, Sir Derek O’Callaghan is very involved in introducing a Bill to deal with anarchists and has received several threats to his life. During the beginning of this novel, we are aware that Sir Derek has been having serious abdominal pains and has ignored suggestions he seek medical help until after the Bill has been successful. Sir Derek’s wife, the icy cool Cicely, does not press him to accept help, but his rather naïve and enthusiastic sister, Ruth, constantly tries to press miracle cures upon him. To add to Sir Derek’s problems, a casual affair he recently, has been taken very seriously by the young woman, now a nurse, who has taken to sending him impassioned, and threatening, letters. Complicating matters still more is the fact that his friend, and doctor, Sir John Phillips, is in love with her.
When Sir Derek collapses in the House of Commons, he is taken off to the nursing home to have an emergency operation. In the operating theatre is, of course, Sir John Phillips, the young nurse he had an affair with and at least one person with communist leanings. When Sir Derek dies, Lady Cicely demands that his death is not natural, but murder. Alleyn investigates and this involves his old friend, Nigel Bathgate, who we met in the first Detective Chief-Inspector Alleyn mystery, as well as Nigel’s fiancée Angela. We are taken from the operating theatre to communist meetings, in a wonderfully evocative Golden Age mystery. This is a delightful mystery and will appeal to anyone who enjoys 1930’s mysteries, with a good setting and an interesting cast of suspects.