The Wintringham Mystery: Cicely Disappears
Anthony Berkeley, A. Monmouth Platts
Republished for the first time in nearly 95 years, a classic winter country house mystery by the founder of the Detection Club, with a twist that even Agatha Christie couldn’t solve!
Stephen Munro, a demobbed army officer, reconciles himself to taking a job as a footman to make ends meet. Employed at Wintringham Hall, the delightful but decaying Sussex country residence of the elderly Lady Susan Carey, his first task entails welcoming her eccentric guests to a weekend house-party, at which her bombastic nephew – who recognises Stephen from his former life – decides that an after-dinner séance would be more entertaining than bridge. Then Cicely disappears!
With Lady Susan reluctant to call the police about what is presumably a childish prank, Stephen and the plucky Pauline Mainwaring take it upon themselves to investigate. But then a suspicious death turns the game into an altogether more serious affair…
This classic winter mystery incorporates all the trappings of the Golden Age – a rambling country house, a séance, a murder, a room locked on the inside, with servants, suspects and alibis, a romance – and an ingenious puzzle.
First published as a 30-part newspaper serial in 1926 – the year The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was published, The Wintringham Mystery was written by Anthony Berkeley, founder of the famous Detection Club. Also known as Cicely Disappears, the Daily Mirror ran the story as a competition with a prize of £500 (equivalent to £30,000 today) for anyone who guessed the solution correctly. Nobody did – even Agatha Christie entered and couldn’t solve it. Can you?