Obelists at Sea (An American Mystery Classic) (Paperback)
C. Daly King’s debut mystery is a tale of murder, travel, and psychiatry set aboard a luxury transatlantic liner
The smoking room on a transatlantic cruise ship is bound to be a hotbed of activity — but it’s less common for it to be the site of a murder. Yet, when the lights flicker aboard the luxury Meganaut, making its way from New York to Paris, this is precisely what happens; in the darkness, a gunshot rings out, and when the light is restored, a man is found dead. The situation becomes all the more curious when it’s discovered that the deceased had apparently ingested cyanide just seconds before being penetrated by the bullet.
Luckily, for the other passengers, there are two detectives aboard the Meganaut, ready to leap into action. There are also four psychiatrists, and those psychiatrists convince the captain to let them take a stab at solving the crime, using their professional understanding of the human psyche to determine who could have been capable of such a crime — and why. But will they be able to deduce the puzzle’s solution before the killer strikes again?
The first of seven novels by psychologist C. Daly King, Obelists at Sea is intelligent and enjoyable Golden Age mystery fare, featuring an atmospheric setting, carefully placed clues, and a complex whodunnit plot explained with sharp-witted ratiocination.
About the Author
C. Daly King (1895-1963) was an American psychologist and detective story writer. He was born in New York City and educated at Yale University. After fighting in World War I, he worked in textiles and in advertising before returning to school to study psychology, with a particular focus on sleep and consciousness. In the 1930s, King published nine books that quickly established him as a master of the Golden Age mystery, but ceased writing fiction with the advent of World War II.
Martin Edwards is the author of numerous mystery novels and short stories, including those in the Lake District Mysteries and Rachel Savernake Golden Age Mysteries series. His nonfiction work has won Edgar, Agatha, H.R.F. Keating and Macavity awards, and he was the recipient of the 2020 Diamond Dagger award for lifetime achievement. A renowned expert in the genre, Edwards is the series consultant for the British Library’s Crime Classics series, the archivist for the Crime Writers Association and the Detection Club, and the editor of 37 anthologies. He lives in Lymm.
Unusually puzzling . . . Highly entertaining.
— New York Times
Ingenious … A satisfyingly complex solution to both crimes; sometimes brilliant and sometimes hilarious applications from psychology; and a 'clue-finder' at mystery’s end—all of this makes for a delightful Golden Age return. With an engrossing introduction by novelist-critic Martin Edwards, who also edits the British Library’s Crime Classics series.
— Booklist STARRED REVIEW