Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Evidence of Things Seen by Elizabeth Daly

Evidence of Things Seen by Elizabeth Daly
I was reading something on one of the mystery blogs recently, and it mentioned that Agatha Christie liked the writings of Elizabeth Daly. Elizabeth Daly was an American mystery author who was a contemporary of Christie. In recent years, Felony and Mayhem has reissued the Daly mysteries, which feature Henry Gamadge, a gentlemen sleuth. I thought I would check out some of the books at my local library, just to see if I liked the books. After all, I've never read Daly. Well, I found out that it's incredibly difficult to find Daly's books in my library system, which is quite a large one: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. I was able to get two of the recent books in reissue. They have a few others in large print, and I think that I might have to resort to those to read more.

Evidence of Things Seen,written in 1943, had an interesting supernatural plot, so I started with it. Henry Gamadge is off working for his country during World War II. His wife, Clara, goes off to spend the summer in a rented cottage with some family friends. Gamadge is to join them when he is done with his work. Well, the friends are delayed, and Clara is alone in the cottage with her help, Maggie. They both start to see a mysterious figure who approaches the house, but never quite comes close enough to talk to. Clara and Maggie start to think that it's the ghost of a woman who died in the cottage a year earlier. What adds to the ghostly feeling is that the woman renting the cottage is the sister of the dead woman, and she appears to be unwilling to enter the house. On the Fourth of July, as the Clara hosts some local neighbors, The sister, Alvira Radford, winds up getting hurt in a carriage accident, when her horse is spooked by what appears to be the ghostly appearance of Alvira's sister. Clara helps get Alvira into the cottage, and calls the doctor. Meanwhile the neighbors, the Hunters, come for dinner. Alvira's ankle is broken, and she can't be taken back home. While Alvira is sleeping due to a morphine shot, Clara and the Hunters take up a watch over her. Fanny Hunter goes first, and Clara replaces her. While Clara is sitting beside Alvira, a previously blocked outside door opens, and the spooky sister seems to appear. Clara keeps her eye on the image and calls for help. When Phin Hunter answers Clara's cries, he says that Alvira is dead! Strangled! Did the ghostly sister somehow kill Alvira, possibly in revenge for Alvira murdering her. The finger of blame seems to point at Clara, and fortunately for her, Gamadge, finishes his job and comes to her aid.

I have to admit that like Gamadge, who admits he knew who the murderer was when he first heard the story, the murderer was quite obvious. Don't get me wrong; the story was entertaining. However, the mystery wasn't very complex. Clara comes across as a weak person who needs her husband to help her. She even seems to be mindless to a degree. When Gamadge suggests going back to the cottage, she says that she will do it if he wants to go there. I'm going to start on the second books Arrow Pointing Nowhere to see if the solution to the mystery is as obvious as it was in Evidence of Things Seen.

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