AUTHOR: DOROTHY SIMPSON
Publisher: Worldwide Library
Genre: English Puzzler (Inspector Luke Thanet Mystery)
Something went terribly wrong at the innocent dinner party hosted by Ralph and Vriginia Mintar. All seemed normal enough but after dinner when it was time to clean up is when Virginia Mintar disappeared. One minute she was in the kitchen filling the dishwasher and the next her family and guests were on the hunt for her.
The next morning her body is found in the garden well of the estate and it's soon established that this is cold blooded murder. Insector Thanet has his own concerns as his daughter is in the hospital and the news is not good. Mostly because she has had a difficult pregnancy and his wife Joan and him are very worried about their daughter and soon to be grandchild. Still Inspector Thanet has a job to do but when he tries to learn about Vriginia it soon become apparent that family secrets are the ties that bind this family.
Ralph is a prominent lawyer with close ties to higher ups. For one thing a daughter disappeared four years earlier and no one has ever heard from Caroline again, this really did break her mother's heart, but Virginia had a reputation with lovers, and among the Mintar family of being a difficult and unseemly woman.
Soon Thanet learns that Virginia had not liked her daughter's choice in a husband to be but didn't object openly to their engagement being announced at the dinner party. For one thing she had already lost one daughter who never returned home she wasn't about to lose another. Then there is the mother-inlaw who did not like Virginia and wasn't all that upset she was missing. Husband Ralph seems to be having difficulty being completely honest with Thanet and of course the new neighbors that were over all of the time seemed to be hiding something from the good Inspector. Thanet's assistant Lineham is just as put out with this case as every time they try to find out the truth someone else seems to be lying as this case becomes more and more disturbing.
When the truth emerges and all comes to light it still makes every reader want to sleep with the lights on and never even entertain the thought of ever having another dinner party.
DEAD And GONE by Dorothy Simpson, is a classic english puzzler with an first rate plot. If the suspense doesn't kill you the ending very well might. Tightly woven, and wonderfully executed this mystery is sure to be a classic.