Cue for Murder (Dr. Basil Willing #5) by Helen McCloy

‘The murder mystery at the Royalty Theatre was solved though the agency of a house fly and a canary.’

Opening night at the Royalty Theatre in New York for the play Fedora provides the setting for a very public murder. One of the characters in the play dies in the first scene — as does the character playing him — yet no-one saw who killed him. Dr Basil Willing, present because of the gift of a ticket, becomes involved in solving the case. It should be simple: there were only three people on stage when the actor was stabbed to death. But who murdered him, and why? Each of the three on stage could have a motive. There are a few strange happenings as well as clues that need to be differentiated from red herrings, but with Dr Willing on the case it is surely only a matter of time.

‘You overlooked three main clues … a clock, a fly and a canary.’

I have read a couple of the Basil Willing mysteries, and this is my favourite (so far). While I identified the importance of two of the clues, I missed the third. A cleverly written murder mystery which held my attention from beginning to end.

Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Agora Books for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith