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The Oleander Press

The Doodled Asterisk

The Doodled Asterisk

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On the tracks of a criminal... There's treachery afoot and more in the tumultuous theatre of war.

21st of March, 1941. The country is under constant bombardment. Just as James Farrar’s fire-watching stint in London’s Manchester Square finishes, there’s a phone call from old chum, Philip Tolefree, after eighteen months' silence.

Farrar informs him of a curious letter from a stranger, Philip Blenkinsop, a survivor of the S.S. Bridgend recently sunk in the Atlantic, summoning him to the Imperial Hotel at Westport to receive a message from the ship’s captain. Blenkinsop had also been on Tolefree’s radar but he’s surprised he’s still alive - the authorities had named those rescued as Perry and Black.

Coincidentally Westport-bound himself, Tolefree joins Farrar on the train from Paddington to the coast. Alarming and strange occurrences greet them upon arrival, followed by gunshots from within the hotel, before they're caught up in the chaos of an air raid.

After the hellish night - the corpses of two men shot dead, their bodies burned beyond recognition are found in the bomb-damaged hotel. Curious notations and doodles on a cigarette paper appear to be the only clue to the obvious question - who pulled the trigger? And, of course... Who's next?

The Doodled Asterisk was also published as A Corpse By Any Other Name. Robert Alfred John Walling (1869-1949) was a magistrate, journalist and author of twenty-eight detective novels and several short stories.

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