Inspector Mallett's stay at the country house hotel of Pendlebury Old Hall has been a disappointment. Room, food and service have been a letdown and he eagerly anticipates the end of his holiday. His last trial is to sit and listen as the hotel boor, whose family once owned the house, sits down at his table. The next day the man is dead and Mallett unwittingly finds himself investigating the suspicious 'suicide'.
Cyril Hare was the pseudonym of Judge Gordon Clark. Born at Mickleham near Dorking in 1900, he was educated at Rugby and New College, Oxford. At the bar his practice was largely in the criminal courts. During the Second World War he was on the staff of the Director of Public Prosecutions; but later, as a County Court judge, his work concerned civil disputes only - and his sole connection with crime was through his fiction. He turned to writing detective stories at the age of thirty-six and some of his first short stories were published in Punch. Hare went on to write a series of detective novels. He died in 1958.