Whodunit, British Library, Crime Classic, Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy L. Sayers

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Robin Forsythe was born Robert Forsythe in 1879. His place of birth was Sialkot, in modern day Pakistan. His mother died when a younger brother was born two years later, and ‘Robin’ was brought up by an ayah until he was six, when he returned to the United Kingdom, and went to school in Glasgow and Northern Ireland. In his teens he had short stories and poetry published and went to London wanting to be a writer.

He married in 1909 and had a son the following year, later working as a clerk at Somerset House in London when he was arrested for theft and fraud in 1928. Sentenced to fifteen months, he began to write his first detective novel in prison.

On his release in 1929 Robin Forsythe published his debut, Missing or Murdered. It introduced Anthony ‘Algernon’ Vereker, an eccentric artist with an extraordinary flair for detective work. It was followed by four more detective novels in the Vereker series, ending with The Spirit Murder Mystery in 1936. All the novels are characterized by the sharp plotting and witty dialogue which epitomize the more effervescent side of golden age crime fiction.

Robin Forsythe died in 1937.

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There was no mistaking the sound: it was that of a stealthy footfall, and it appeared to come from the staircase leading to the next floor.

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Mr Sutton Armadale, the financier, was shot dead on the private polo ground of his palatial home. Before expiring in his gamekeeper’s arms, he muttered the one word “murder”.

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“What’s the matter?” Vereker asked breathlessly, and at the same moment realised that the mass lying at Ricardo’s feet was the body of a woman. “Has she fainted?”

“It’s Mrs. Mesado, Algernon,” replied Ricardo, “and if I’m not mistaken, she’s dead.”

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The body of John Cornell the well-known London Merchant and banker, was exhumed early this morning with great secrecy, following representations made to the Home Office.

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Thrusting his pipe in his pocket, he crossed to his writing desk. Extracting a heavy army-pattern revolver from a drawer, he began silently to search the whole ground floor of the house.

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“Take my advice; from to-day keep your own counsel. Listen to everything, disclose nothing. Avoid being alone. Come to me if you’re in doubt about anything or feel you scent danger. I can assure you we both live in danger.”

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