When one young woman apparently committed suicide, using her own silk stocking to hang herself, it appeared to be just a senseless tragedy.
When a second young woman apparently committed suicide the same way, it appeared to be a terrible coincidence, a copycat suicide.
When a third young woman apparently committed suicide the same way, the police began to show some interest. But it was only with the help of amateur detective Roger Sheringham that they were ultimately able to solve what became known as "The Silk Stocking Murders." The book, by Anthony Berkeley, is the subject of today's audio review on the Classic Mysteries podcast. You can listen to the full review by clicking here.
The Silk Stocking Murders was published in 1929, right in the middle of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. It contains many of the features that characterized the crime novels of the period, including an amateur detective at least tolerated, and often actively encouraged, by the official police investigators. Roger Sheringham is able to offer the police some new insight into the crimes, including the identity of one of the victims. As a result, he is invited to take part in the investigation - although he often winds up working with other amateurs without the blessing or help of the police detectives on the case.
It's a good story, with a lot of twists and surprises. I do have some reservations, however. In particular, the case is resolved with an unusual and dangerous confrontation set up by Sheringham at the end of the book, and I think many readers will be somewhat taken aback at what happens. And I must say that the killer's identity seemed (to me, at least) to be fairly obvious, although it wasn't at all clear until the end just how that person could have committed the crime - and an intriguing "howdunit" is an integral part of the plot.
So I do recommend The Silk Stocking Murders, by Anthony Berkeley, as a worthwhile read. It is good to see it brought back into print by the Langtail Press. There's also a less expensive edition for the Amazon Kindle. It's worth your time.