Who the Heck is Sylvia?

Joyce Porter

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18 July 2013
186 pages

The Honourable Constance Morrison-Burke is on the rampage once again. Thanks to a strange reluctance on the part of the police to let her master-mind their investigations, the Hon. Con (as she is generally known) is forced to rely on her friends in her chosen profession of private detective. Or at least, they were her friends before they encouraged her to go poking around in their affairs . . .

The Ottaways are a wealthy and eminently respectable Totterbridge family, even though they are in Trade. One day a strange woman claiming to be a long-lost sister turns up and, much to their dismay, squats on them. Natural delicacy and some rather tricky merger negotiations, in process at the time, make them unwilling to risk the adverse publicity that calling in the police might involve, and Miss Augusta (power-house of the Ottaways) comes up with the bright idea of giving the whole mess into the Hon. Con’s care. The way she sees it – the Hon. Con is not only the soul of discretion, but she comes cheaper than most as well.

Before long, the Hon. Con, ably assisted by her loyal lieutenant, Miss Jones, is hard at work leaving behind her a trail of disaster as she blasts her way through to the heart of the mystery. In the teeth of incredible hazards (including a horrifying confrontation with the underworld boss of one of our foremost seaside holiday resorts) the Hon. Con finally wins through and solves her case to the satisfaction of hardly anybody.

This is a detective story for the cognoscente . . . with strong stomachs.