About this edition: Two preview chapters of #5 - The Mystery of Burnleigh Manor by Walter Livingston are included in the back of the book.
About the author: Here is a Wikipedia article and a Goodreads article about George Goodchild (1888-1969).
- Sir Randolph Cantler, found floating dead at the waterfront
- Jack O'Lantern - alias of Paul Lefroy, tall, gaunt, rather unstable criminal
- Tobias Lantern - murderer tried and executed long ago, possibly related to Jack O'Lantern
- Judge Wallington - who presided over Tobias Lantern's trial
- Hugo Michels, retired judge, friend of Judge Wallington
- John Wrench, Detective-Inspector of the C.I.D. (Criminal Investigative Division)
- Superintendent Sweeting - jealous superior of John Wrench
- Sonia Pelling, ward of Judge Wallington, love interest of John Wrench
- Nali, Hindu servant of Judge Wallington
- Jim Banting - older "retired" criminal
- Kate Banting, daughter of Jim Banting, quite taken with Lefroy
- Sam Knudge - dimwitted criminal, accustomed to garish outfits, taken with Kate
Synopsis: Sir Randolph Cantler is found floating dead at the waterfront. The escaping killer is believed to be an (unknown) man using the alias Jack O'Lantern. Meanwhile, Inspector John Wrench apprehends a burglar, "The Slasher", who is found to have a note from Jack O'Lantern in his pocket.
Judge Wallington discusses the case with John Wrench, and speculates on a connection between Jack O'Lantern and a Tobias Lantern, whom he tried - and had executed - many years before. Wrench is also enamored with Wallngton's ward, Sonia Pelling. Wallington receives death threats from Jack O'Lantern.
Sonia is frightened by a face at the window, who leaves the initials JOL scratched in the window pane.
Three underworld characters --- Jim Banting, his daughter Kate, and Sam Knudge are intimidated by Lefroy (Jack O'Lantern) although Kate is fascinated by him. Knudge decides to get rid of his love-interest rival by tipping off the police as to his whereabouts, but the police are unsuccessful in locating him.
Wrench, in disguise, prowls the underworld in search of Jack O'Lantern. Meanwhile, the judge is not feeling too well - is it illness or poison? Difficult to tell, he disappears too!
Jim Banting, and the love triangle of Sam Knudge/Kate Banting/Jack O'Lantern hole up in a house which catches fire.