Saturday, December 2, 2017

#12 - The Maestro Murders by Frances Shelley Wees (1931)


About this edition: The first Mystery League edition of 1931, this edition also contains a teaser of the first chapter of the next edition (Turmoil at Brede by Seldon Truss).

About the author: A Wikipedia article states "Frances Shelley Wees (1902 – 1982) was an American-Canadian educator and writer. She was born in Gresham, Oregon, moved to Saskatoon where she began teaching when she was seventeen. Wees received a BA from the University of Alberta; during this time, she wrote her first novel which remained unpublished. In 1931, she published The Maestro Murders. She went on to write more than two dozen mystery and romance novels. 


Characters:



  • Michael Forrester
  • Theresa "Tuck" Torrie - public stenographer, Michael's girlfriend
  • Bernice "Bunny" Temple - Theresa's business partner
  • John Forrester, District Attorney; Michael's father
  • Police Commissioner A. L. Davies
  • Detective -- Grey
  • Mrs. Merriwell, flaunter of her ruby collection
  • Alderman Mervyn Collinson
  • Odette Collinson, his wife
  • Professor Seeley - expert on antiquities, and news columnist
  • Fraser Laurence, attorney for Professor Seeley
  • Benjamin Lehmann, owner of the antique shop, and theatre manager
  • Eve Levasseur, actress
  • Roger Mills, man about town, friend of Eve Levasseur
  • Dr. Adrian, police psychologist
  • Ruth Adrian, his daughter


Synopsis:


A heist of the "Weldon Jewels" has just occurred, including a precious jewel box known as the "Casket of Queen Catherine". The police are baffled, and DA. John Forrester and Police Commissoner Davies decide to try some fresh blood on the case - meaning Forrester's son, Michael.

Michael's girlfriend, Tuck, has her transcription office burgled. Professor Seeley had just turned in a manuscript to her for transcription, describing the Casket of Queen Catherine; stating he saw it in a local antique shop. Seeley is then found dead.

Michael realizes Seeley was murdered due to his knowledge of the artifact, and reports this to the authorities. Michael begins looking into the heist/murder officially, much to the professional jealousy of Det. Grey. He starts by looking up Seeley's attorney, Fraser Laurence - to find him murdered in his apartment - just as Tuck walks in the door. Michael and Tuck team up in the investigation, which is likened to a spider's web. The strands of the web lead to Fraser Laurence, actress Eve Levasseur (girlfriend of Fraser Laurence), Benjamin Lehmann, Roger Mills, and others.

Soon a second jewel heist occurs and Mrs. Merriwell's rubies disappear also. Michael and Tuck follow the trail to the antique shop, where they discover some hidden rooms. All the strands of the web converge there.





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