|About the Book|
_Death Under Sail_ is a murder mystery of buttonholing tension. But it is not only a top-class and ingenious whodunnit, it is also a superb study of human motivation, a clever and unobtrusive comment on society, and the very best example of watertight craftsmanship.My take: Its a shame that Snow didnt write more mysteries. This is a terrific example of the Golden Age whodunnit. Kept me guessing till the very end.The plot of Death Under Sail seems very simple. A small party of friends--five men and two women--plan to spend two weeks sailing on a small boat. Even though they are friends, the boat is small enough that there is danger that they might get on each others nerves. It winds up that this is not the only danger--for before the close quarters have a chance to work on their temperaments, their host, Roger Mills, is murdered while steering the boat--discovered with a bullet through the heart and a jovial smile on his face. How was this possible? And how could it have happened in such a small, restricted space? Mills had many enemies, but he had no thought that one of them would be among his guests. Who among this decent, educated, and charming group of people had a motive for such violence? The boat is brought to land and two detectives soon enter the scene--the suave civil servant and amateur detective Finbow and his counter-part Detective-Sergeant Aloysius Birrell. What follows is a delightful investigation of civilized murder.Written in 1932, Death Under Sail is another fine example of the witty and genteel Golden Age mystery. We have the closed setting (small boat in the middle of a waterway), limited suspects, the refined and gentlemanly amateur detective, and the policeman who needs the amateur to show him the way. Finbow is a delight all by himself. I am, in addition to being a vintage mystery addict, a collector of quotations. I have several pages devoted to Finbows bon mots--clever little bits on everything from detection itself to human nature. Finbows thoughts on human nature stem from his interest in psychology and it is psychology that he uses to solve the mystery.