Wednesday, January 31, 2018

#20 - The Hunterstone Outrage by Seldon Truss (1931)

About this edition: This edition contains Baffle Case Number One, The McCumber Murder by Lassiter Wren and Randle McKay. Readers were invited to submit their solution to this short, self-contained mystery for a chance at one of the prizes to be awarded in gold. The solution would appear in #22, Bungalow on the Roof by Achmed Abdullah. There would be two more Baffle Cases in the future.

About the author: We don't know much about Seldon Truss other than his full name was Leslie Seldon Truss, he is from the UK, and lived 1892-1990. He also wrote as George Selmark. He has one other title in the Mystery League series:  Turmoil at Brede.

Principal characters:

  • Daniel Harland, dead on page one, of Hunterstone estate
  • Rev. Mr. Hemingway, vicar
  • Dr. Henry Gould, doctor and choir member
  • Ivor Gould, his son
  • Ezra Apps, verger (usher) and sexton
  • Joyce Wynnford, niece of Daniel Harland
  • Captain Martin Treherne, manager of Hunterstone estate
  • Symes, butler of Hunterstone estate
  • --- Malchus, traveling lingerie salesman who is quite interested in the case
  • Mrs. Farley, landlady of the Hunterstone Arms inn and tavern
  • P. C. (Police Constable) Goble
  • Police Sergeant Grimwade 

Locale: England


Daniel Harland did not move during Rev. Hemingway's evening service, and when usher Ezra Apps went to poke him, found him to be dead. Dr. Henry Gould, choir member, checks him and finds he has been dead since before the service. The authorities are called. Rev. Hemingway and Apps wait for them in the vestry, leaving the body unattended. When Sergeant Grimwade arrives on scene, they enter the sanctuary to find the body gone!

Ivor Gould, the doctor's son, goes to Hunterstone estate to inform Harland's niece, Joyce Wynnford, of the death (Ivor is sweet on her). No one grieves too much, as no one liked him anyway. When Sergeant Grimwade investigates, it is found that estate manager Martin Treherne (Joyce is sweet on him) was outside the church in the cemetery at the time of the murder, and does not provide any explanation.

Mr. Malchus comes to stay at the Hunterstone Arms. He is a "commercial traveler" (salesman) of ladies' lingerie, yet never seems to be selling any. He is much more interested in interviewing parties to the case and examining the scene of the crime; and comes up with an astounding revelation.


I have greatly enjoyed the two Mystery League selections by Seldon Truss. His thriller style turns the story into a real page-turner, with several unexpected twists and turns along the way. Once the action starts, it just multiplies with all-hell-breaking-loose on several fronts simultaneously. I am looking for additonal Seldon Truss titles - not too common in the US, and showing up periodically on eBay.

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