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The Mystery of the Skeleton Key

The Mystery of the Skeleton Key
Bernard Capes

Hugh Lamb

G. Chesterton K.

The fourth in a new series of classic detective stories from the vaults of HarperCollins involves a tragic accident during a shooting party. As the story switches between Paris and Hampshire, the possibility of it not being an accident seems to grow more likely.“The Detective Story Club”, launched by Collins in 1929, was a clearing house for the best and most ingenious crime stories of the age, chosen by a select committee of experts. Now, almost 90 years later, these books are the classics of the Golden Age, republished at last with the same popular cover designs that appealed to their original readers.The Mystery of the Skeleton Key, first published in 1919, has the distinction of being the first detective novel commissioned and published by Collins, though it was Bernard Capes’ only book in the genre, as he died shortly before it was published. This is how the Detective Club announced their edition ten years later:“Mr Arnold Bennett, in a recent article, criticised the ad hoc characterisation and human interest in the detective novels of to-day. “The Mystery of the Skeleton Key” contains, in addition to a clever crime problem and plenty of thrills, a sensible love story, humour, excellent characterisation and strong human interest. The scenes are laid in Paris and Hampshire. The story deals with a crime committed in the grounds of a country house and the subsequent efforts of a clever young detective the track down the perpetrator. The Selection Committee of “The Detective Story Club” have no hesitation in recommending this splendid thriller as one which will satisfy the most exacting reader of detective fiction.”This new edition comes with a brand new introduction by Capes expert and anthologist, Hugh Lamb.

Published by COLLINS CRIME CLUB

An imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd

1 London Bridge Street

London SE1 9GF

www.harpercollins.co.uk (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk)

First published in Great Britain as The Skeleton Key

by Wm Collins Sons & Co. Ltd 1919

Published by The Detective Story Club Ltd 1929

Introduction © Hugh Lamb 2015

Cover design © HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd 1929, 2015

A catalogue copy of this book is available from the British Library.

This novel is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins.

Source ISBN: 9780008137144

Ebook Edition © August 2015 ISBN: 9780008137151

Version: 2015-08-14

Contents

Cover (#u6e509ba1-663e-50d5-9dda-06772c3954ca)

Title Page (#u4a1641d9-cdb6-56dd-9cd7-d5592af9b9c6)

Copyright (#uc47cabe9-0d05-5f03-be8d-26efa0d29fde)

Introduction (#ue8006487-6c9d-59d0-89fc-f4d46d9284b1)

Epigraph (#ufecaa107-f77b-5dcb-8bb0-52899c72eaaf)

Introduction (#ud69afc31-47d1-5867-9ed2-3270d922ea52)

Chapter I: MY FIRST MEETING WITH THE BARON (#udbbe764b-6399-5d79-971d-0f804c7c09ca)

Chapter II: MY SECOND MEETING WITH THE BARON (#u2cb4432c-600a-5351-bbe0-97dee9711341)

Chapter III: WILDSHOTT (#u355527c9-7b8f-588e-b313-656b74136358)

Chapter IV: I AM INTERESTED IN THE BARON (#ub4b3f744-7e8a-5af9-ad8e-8510e86ddd6d)

Chapter V: THE BARON CONTINUES TO INTEREST ME (#uc6375e25-8ad6-5551-981b-889c41c2b5a7)

Chapter VI: ‘THAT THUNDERS IN THE INDEX’ (#u17fd39e2-3216-5a90-9809-0cf9ae267f72)

Chapter VII: THE BARON VISITS THE SCENE OF THE CRIME (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter VIII: AN ENTR’ACTE (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter IX: THE INQUEST (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter X: AFTERWARDS (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter XI: THE BARON DRIVES (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter XII: THE BARON WALKS (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter XIII: ACCUMULATING EVIDENCE (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter XIV: THE EXPLOSION (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter XV: THE FACE ON THE WALL (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter XVI: THE BARON FINDS A CHAMPION (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter XVII: AND AUDREY (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter XVIII: THE BARON RETURNS (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter XIX: THE DARK HORSE (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter XX: THE BARON LAYS HIS CARDS ON THE TABLE (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter XXI: A LAST WORD (#litres_trial_promo)

The Detective Story Club (#litres_trial_promo)

About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo)