Death in the Night Watches
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Published Date: 1945
At the height of World War II, Thomas Littlejohn investigates a factory boss’s murder
In his last years, Old William Worth sowed the seeds of trouble for the next generation of his family. First, he married a handsome woman, younger than his own children and then he died, leaving an abominable will full of the ingredients of murder. Soon, the evil old man’s plans began to mature, only differently from what he had thought. His eldest son, Henry, was whilst fire-watching at Worths Engineering Works, locked in the gas-filled engine-house and left to die.
Henry had plenty of enemies. A hard master, he had antagonised many of his workmen; a philanderer, he had the fathers of a number of pretty girls on his track. And then there were the grim inhabitants of Trentvale Hall, the Worth family. What had they do to with his death?
The bewildered local police appealed to Scotland Yard and Inspector Littlejohn arrived in Trentbridge to help them. The murderer, like many before him, underestimated the ability of the good-humoured, patient, imperturbable Littlejohn and struck again, almost under the Inspector’s very nose. From then onward, the scaffold was waiting.
We follow Littlejohn on his round of investigations. The Coroner, more intent on a shave than on helping the police; a vegetarian gymnast who suspects Littlejohn of having designs on his lovely daughter; a clever surgeon whose wife leaves him to cook his own meals and who prefers astronomy to crime investigation.
These and a number of other Bellairs characters caper through the pages. With our old friend, the Inspector, we can pause to enjoy their antics, but, like him, we never forget the main job until the criminal ends, literally, in the arms of the law.