This is Yates first thriller: a tautly plotted page-turner featuring the crime-busting adventures of suave Richard Chandos. Chandos is thrown out of Oxford for beating up some Communists, and on return from vacation in Biarritz he witnesses a murder. Teaming up at his London club with friend Jonathan Mansel, a stratagem is devised to catch the killer.
Author biography:Dornford Yates Born Cecil William Mercer, into a middle class Victorian family with many skeletons in the closet, including his great-uncle's conviction for embezzlement from a law firm and subsequent suicide, Yates parents somehow scraped enough money together to send him to Harrow.
The son of a solicitor, he qualified as a barrister whilst still finding time to contribute stories to the 'Windsor Magazine'. After the First World War, however, he gave up legal work in favour of writing full time. It had become his great passion, and he went on to complete some thirty books. These ranged from light-hearted farce to adventure thrillers.
The 'Berry' series established Yates reputation as a writer of witty, upper-crust romances and he was also very successful with the thriller genre though the character Richard Chandos, who recounts the adventures of Jonah Mansel, a classic gentleman sleuth.
As a consequence of his education and experience, Yates books encompass the genteel life; a nostalgic glimpse at Edwardian decadence and a number of swindling solicitors, and he regularly featured in bestseller lists and was greatly admired by both readers and fellow authors. Along with Sapper and John Buchan, Yates dominated the adventure book market of the inter-war years. Indeed, Berry is one of the great comic creations of twentieth century fiction; and the Chandos titles were later successfully adapted for television.
Eventually finding the English climate utterly unbearable, Yates chose to live in the French Pyrenees for eighteen years, before moving on to Rhodesia, as it then was, where he died in 1960.