Title: The Black Cabinet
Author: Patricia Wentworth
Publication: Trade Paperback, 2016, Dean Street Press; originally published in 1925 by Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Golden Age of Mystery
The Black Cabinet is where Chloe’s unpleasant relative Mitchell Dane kept his blackmail materials. When he tells Chloe the combination to its lock and makes her his heir, he sets in motion a series of events that put his victims at risk – and Chloe - from men eager to profit from his nefarious activities.
Mrs. Rowse looked severely at Chloe for a moment, and added, “If you was plain, it’ud be a lot easier.”
“I should so hate to be plain,” said Chloe with a beaming smile. “Dear Mrs. Rowse, do think of something. You see if I don’t get a job, I can’t pay you after this week – and I know you are much too kind-hearted to turn me out into the street.”
Mrs. Rowse snorted again. “You ought to go back to your friends, you ought,” she said. “I don’t hold with young gels running away and hiding. And what’s the use of your saying you’re not a young lady, when anyone can see the length of Hatchelbury Road in the dark that you are? If you was really a plain ordinary gel, why I suppose there’s a job you could have tomorrow. But you’re not, and you couldn’t do it.”
Chloe slipped off the table. “Mrs. Rowse, how frightfully exciting! What is it? Tell me at once. It’s no use saying I couldn’t do it because I’d do anything.”
Dean Street Press, and while it may not be one of her absolute best, it was an enjoyable read with some very funny moments, most supplied by Michael Foster.
Source: I asked the Boston Public Library to order several of the reprinted Wentworths and I am grateful to the librarian who ordered this and more.