Anthony Gilbert - The Scarlet Button - Orion Publishing Group

The Scarlet Button

By Anthony Gilbert

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'No author is more skilled at making a good story seem brilliant' Sunday Express

James Chigwell is a blackmailer, a human spider who fattens on the blood of other men - on their misfortunes and on their mistakes. But retribution comes to Chigwell when one of his victims at last rebels against his maliciousness and bludgeons him to death.

But who among Chigwell's final victims has the courage of despair to slay his tormentor?

The Scarlet Button is at once grim and entertaining and, of course, features the celebrated detective Arthur Crook.

Biographical Notes

Anthony Gilbert was the pen name of Lucy Beatrice Malleson. Born in London, she spent all her life there, and her affection for the city is clear from the strong sense of character and place in evidence in her work. She published 69 crime novels, 51 of which featured her best known character, Arthur Crook, a vulgar London lawyer totally (and deliberately) unlike the aristocratic detectives, such as Lord Peter Wimsey, who dominated the mystery field at the time. She also wrote more than 25 radio plays, which were broadcast in Great Britain and overseas. Her thriller The Woman in Red (1941) was broadcast in the United States by CBS and made into a film in 1945 under the title My Name is Julia Ross. She was an early member of the British Detection Club, which, along with Dorothy L. Sayers, she prevented from disintegrating during World War II. Malleson published her autobiography, Three-a-Penny, in 1940, and wrote numerous short stories, which were published in several anthologies and in such periodicals as Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and The Saint. The short story 'You Can't Hang Twice' received a Queens award in 1946. She never married, and evidence of her feminism is elegantly expressed in much of her work.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781471909795
  • Publication date: 14 Apr 2013
  • Page count:
  • Imprint: The Murder Room
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The Man Who Wasn't There

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Marjorie Hyde, a gifted but unsuccessful actress, is happily married. Like many members of her profession she is temperamental, and though not that beautiful has that Titian colouring that is supposed to make men mad. Her husband, Christopher, is insanely jealous, and after learning that she is frequently in the company of Philip Clare, a barrister and Parliamentary candidate, Christopher threatens to instigate divorce proceedings that would ruin his rival's career.The same night, he drinks his usual glass of after-dinner port and dies from hyosin poisoning. And in the unravelling of the mystery surrounding his death, nobody is free from suspicion.

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Murder Has No Tongue

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Treason in my Breast

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'Few murders would go unhung,' said plump, cynical Arthur Crook, 'if people used their eyes more. It's the man selling violets in the gutter, the woman exercising her Pekinese, the chap reading the midday racing news in the Tube who actually have the chance to spot the murderer. They're the people he can't guard aginst.'Arthur Crook is a delightful nosey-parker, and here his blustering humour and bulldog tenacity face their toughest test yet.

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The Bell of Death

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The bell of St Ethelburga's had stopped ringing. It had pealed out its customary call to the faithful, its gentle reproach to the sluggards; but somehow that morning it did not seem to ring as long as usual. For Death had been busy in the belfry, where a startled vicar made an appalling discovery.The murder in the church begins another mystery for the inimitable Crook and Parsons, who shine with their trademark ingenuity and impudence.

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Third Crime Lucky

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Murder is a Waiting Game

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The Musical Comedy Crime

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Major John Hillier is found dead in his flat, early one morning, in strange circumstances. Inspector Field traces the dead man's last movements and learns that, after breaking up a dinner party, he visited a remote suburban theatre to see a leading lady he didn't even know by sight.Field traces the Major's history back some years and finds himself entangled in a net of underworld intrigue in England and further afield. Drugs, blackmail and a crime years old all play their part in an affair that starts to attract wide attention.'No author is more skilled at making a good story seem brilliant' Sunday Express

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The Vanishing Corpse

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A Nice Cup of Tea

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'No author is more skilled at making a good story seem brilliant' Sunday ExpressWhen Alice Hunter's mother dies, after grimly clinging on for eighty-odd years, it is enough for genteel Alice just to be free. But she soon becomes lonely, having few points of contact with the people in the cheap boarding houses which are all she can afford. Then comes news of a legacy, and Alice's soul rises as she travels to the family's lawyers in Bath. Her new life is not what she expects, however, and she is lost in a fog of human misunderstanding, hatred and deceit. A nice cup of tea, stirred by detective Arthur Crook, is what she will need to put things right . . .

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The Voice

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'No author is more skilled at making a good story seem brilliant' Sunday ExpressWhat seemed like an ordinary phone call in the middle of the afternoon suddenly plunges its recipient, Simon Crete, into a plot of blackmail and murder.'Tell him it's no use. I haven't got it,' the mystery woman's voice cried desperately down the line. But who was she? And why was she ringing a man whom she had never seen?

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Night Encounter

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The shades of night were falling fast when Arthur Crook drove the old Superb over the Lakeland Fells and into the valley, to stop at a mysterious house where, though a light burned in an upper window, no one answered the bell. Here opens a double murder mystery in which Crook acts in the defence of a young prisoner on the run, whose guilt appears evident. 'The usual gusto, racy prose, good plotting and up-to-the-minute social observation' Sunday Times

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Death at Four Corners

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'No author is more skilled at making a good story seem brilliant' Sunday ExpressWhen Doctor Terence Ambrose visits Gervase Blount at Four Corners he notices the body of a man low down on a cliff near the house. His enquiries into the man's death point suspicion at several people, particularly his old friend from Balliol Gervase Blount himself. As he delves into the past a complicated web of intrigue is slowly exposed . . .

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The Case Against Andrew Fane

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Andrew Fane is faced with five years in prison for fraud, and a penniless future. When he appeals for help from his uncle his pleas go unanswered, but on visiting him Fane is welcomed by a mysterious and heavily veiled woman.When he finds his uncle's body, murdered in horrible and grotesque circumstances, she suddenly disappears leaving Fane faced with the dilemma of telling the police or covering his tracks . . .'No author is more skilled at making a good story seem brilliant' Sunday Express

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The Body on the Beam

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When Florence Penny's body is found hanging from a beam in the bedsit she has been renting, it looks to Inspector Field like a case of suicide. Soon, though, he realises murder is the motive, and the discovery of a single pink bead among the disordered bedclothes leads him to prime suspect Charles Hobart.It's now up to Scott Egerton, Hobart's prospective brother-in-law, and an astute private inquiry agent named Gordon to establish Hobart's innocence . . .'No author is more skilled at making a good story seem brilliant' Sunday Express

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The Man in Button Boots

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'No author is more skilled at making a good story seem brilliant' Sunday ExpressWhen Julian Marks, a well-known diamond merchant, is found murdered at the Hotel Fantastique in Monte Carlo, the motive is presumed to be theft. Marks always carried with him an enormous diamond on a steel chain.Guests have noticed a shady character in button boots staying at the hotel. But when the diamond is found in an unexpected place, French sleuth M Dupuy has to rethink his investigation. Could the mystery man now lead him to the culprit?

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Courtier to Death

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Eight years ago René Tessier was at the height of his fame. Now the once-celebrated film star frequents less reputable Parisian cafés. That is until young producer Julian Lane plans to star Tessier in his latest production with the promise of millions.Tessier is headed to London. But the washed-up old man spends less than 24 hours in a dingy Soho hotel before he is found dead. Was it suicide or murder? And who could have wanted Tessier dead?'No author is more skilled at making a good story seem brilliant' Sunday Express