Reginald Templeton is known as something of a world traveler and possibly even a millionaire. He arrives at Marsh Quay, a fishing village in South Downs on England’s Cheanel coast. The village is only two miles from the town of Frattenbury, where Templeton’s cousin is the canon at the cathedral. He does indeed visit his cousin, but he also has other appointments, “business” left undefined. Early one morning, Templeton is found stabbed to death on his yacht.
Detective Sergeant Colson of the local police is assigned to investigate. At the inquest, the canon discloses he picked up something on the floor under his cousin’s body – a cigar band, which he promptly stuck in his pocket and forgot. And a walking stick in found in the small dinghy used by the murderer to gain access to the yacht.
Early on, it appears there are three good suspects. Colson goes through the gradual elimination of each, until he reaches a blind alley. None of his three prime suspects could have committed the murder.
The Templeton Case by Victor Whitechurch was first published in 1924 and has now been republished in e-book format. It’s a mystery that seems to have no solution, until things take a rather unexpected turn. It also contains anti-Semitic references which are jarring to read today, but they likely would have passed unnoticed in 1924.
Whitechurch was a Church of England clergyman as well as a crime novelist. He wrote seven mystery novels and one collection of mystery stories, most featuring a clergyman as a main character. He was well known enough to become one of the founding members of the Detection Club, along with Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, and G.K. Chesterton. His best-known literary character is the amateur railway detective Thorpe Hazelle.
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