The Mysterious Bookshop

Farjeon, J. Jefferson, Mystery in White

Age has not diminished this wintry tale, originally published in 1937, from British crime novelist Farjeon (1883–1955), whose Number 17 was the basis of the Hitchcock film of the same name. A train leaving London’s Euston Station is stalled indefinitely by heavy snow. The occupants of a third-class train compartment opt to strike out on foot for nearby Hemmersby. Edward Maltby, of the Royal Psychical Society, goes first, followed by a group of four comprised of David and Lydia Carrington (brother and sister), clerk Robert Thomson, and chorus girl Jessie Noyes. Leaving singly are elderly bore Hopkins and a cockney calling himself Mr. Smith. They find a house unlocked and unoccupied but obviously ready for company. The house holds many secrets that will be revealed only at a high price. By the time the storm ends, four people will have been murdered, and the survivors, not the police, will deliver justice in the satisfying ending.