Jon, I read this one four years ago, have been rereading (about
fifty pages left), and I agree with your review (except I don't find
the book slow-moving, it seems a quick read to me, like all the
early Belton Cobbs, which seem mainly driven by conversation, with
some interior "monolougeing" in this case).
Like most early Belton Cobbs, suspicion is realistically confined to
a small group, in this case the dead woman's (morphia overdose) son,
niece,doctor and nurse-companion (the cook and housemaid, we are
informed, are not intelligent enough to have committed the crime).
Great emphasis is placed on the travails of the much put-upon
companion, which gives the work some novelistic interest, in
addition to the basic interest in the puzzle of the morphia. The
other suspects in this little household, particularly the son and
niece, are not sympathetically portrayed, giving the lie to the
notion that all books of this place and period were "cozies."
Cobb's police detective, Cheviot Burmann, is mostly confined to
rather smug cameos so far; the police superintendent, a male
chauvinist of the old school (loves women as long as they "act like
women") is sympathetically portrayed and intervenes strongly when
everyone else is ready to hang poor Emma Claypole (or at least pack
her off to Broadmoor).
--- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, Jon Jermey <jonjermey@...> wrote:
> Cobb, Belton - Like a Guilty Thing (1938)
> Slow-moving but solid story about a heart patient who dies under
> care of her nurse-companion, Emma Claypole. The manner of death is
> suspicious, and poor ageing Miss Claypole, with her pathetic hopes
> legacy, is the obvious suspect, but Superintendent Cox remembers
> lessons learnt in a previous case, and delays the arrest while he
> for more evidence. This is soon forthcoming, but it takes the
> intervention of Scotland Yard Inspector Cheviot Burmann, towards
> of the book, to clear up the mysteries of the method and the
> bring the guilty party to justice.
> Miss Claypole's dilemma is graphically drawn, and the anxiety that
> her accuse herself is almost palpable. An excellent depiction of
> perils of financial dependence, which runs like a thread through
> GAD stories.