The Man in the Moonlight
The Basil Willing Mysteries
by Helen McCloy
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 10 Dec 2020 | Archive Date 15 Jan 2021
I take pleasure in informing you that you have been chosen as murderer for Group No 1. Please follow these instructions with as great exactness as possible.
On his way to visit the dean at Yorkville University, Assistant Chief Inspector Foyle seems to stumble across a murder, or at least the plans for one.
Chalking it all up to a gag (because real killers don’t use the word ‘murder’), Foyle is horrified to learn about the death of Dr Kinradi, a scientist at the campus.
Though it looks like a suicide, Foyle isn’t so sure, and Dr Basil Willing, psychologist and sleuth, is called in to aid the investigation.
With motives and murder piling up, the pair must solve the case before more lives are put at risk.
Set in WWII and filled with secrets and espionage, The Main in the Moonlight is part of Agora Books’ Uncrowned Queens of Crime series.
A Note From the Publisher
If you enjoyed reading The Man in the Moonlight, we'd really appreciate seeing your honest review on Amazon. Thank you and happy reading, Agora Books.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 14 members
Helen McCloy was an absolutely fabulous Golden Age author...every book I've read of hers so far has been brilliant! The Man In the Moonlight's very first sentence whet my appetite, very riveting and promising, and kept me glued until the last. The pace is fast and the book positively drips with fascinating plots and details. McCloy obviously did her research into science and metallurgy when writing. Love the list of characters and enticing treat right after that but the greatest hurrah to me is the mystery and how it occurs and is solved. Inspector Foyle stumbles upon a clue before a murder is committed on Yorkville University campus in the times of WWII and is at the right place, at the right time. Sort of. A scientist, Dr. Kinradi, is discovered dead and the events which unfold next are thrilling and twisty. Various characters are plausible suspects but the hows and whys are swathed in mystery and questions. Layers of subplots really electrify the atmosphere, including darkness and heightened senses which come with it, mists, experiments and closed room situations. Various scientific studies and research are intertwined and we see bits and pieces of the characters' pasts enter into the story. Helen McCloy fans, Golden Age Mystery fans and general Mystery fans should sink their teeth into this wonderful book. I enjoyed it very much. Republishing these books is important. My sincere thank you to Agora Books and NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy of this delectably atmospheric book in exchange for an honest review. Much appreciated.
The Man in the Moonlight feels like a Golden Age mystery through and through: incredibly twisty plot, oblique clues, and a crew of motley characters who (of course) each have their own potential motive for killing a certain chemistry professor, or at least for obstructing the investigation as much as possible. As one can imagine, this was a very fast-paced read - as soon as one clue or suspect gets sorted out something else swoops in to take its place, resulting in a plot that never seems to let up and a book that's eminently readable. And as always I am a little gremlin for period stuff, so all the historical detail simply delighted me. This is my first encounter with Dr. Basil Willing, amateur sleuth, and bar one very odd moment (he kisses a suspect, wonders if she made him do it, and then never raises the topic again - but I have read odder moments in other books of this period, so make of that what you will) he was a decent investigator. I was expecting the psychological aspect of his investigative process to feel dated but was pleasantly surprised, and I thought it ended up bringing a nice little character-focused angle to a genre which typically feels extremely plot-driven. Ultimately, this is a well-done book of its genre; if you like Golden Age mysteries I see no reason why you wouldn't like this. I am delighted that these books are being republished and made available for a modern audience again, and will certainly try to pick up the others in this series as they come out. Many thanks to Agora Books for their efforts here, and for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I enjoyed this American murder mystery set in a New York university during World War 2 from Agora Books’ Uncrowned Queens of Crime series. The plot was exciting, with an impossible locked-room crime, lie detectors and possible Nazi spies. The psychological angle was well explored and the denouement was satisfying. There were a few things I thought were odd, for example attitudes towards epilepsy, but these were perhaps indicative of the time. I had not read any of Helen McCloy's books previously, but I will definitely look out for them in future. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing a review copy in exchange for honest feedback.
Helen McCloy's second mystery to feature Dr Basil Willing and Inspector Doyle is set in New York in May 1940 before America had entered the conflict of World War II. Dr Konradi, captured by the Nazis after the Anschluss of Austria on March 12th 1938 has escaped the Dachau Concentration Camp to continue his scientific experiments in New York but death awaits him. Helen McCloy, now rediscovered by Agora Books, wrote this 1940 novel with a dab hand of confidence. Everything about it is clever, from the chapter headings to the deep psychological insights. The atmosphere and innuendo make it particularly engaging to read. I urge every admirer of classic crime novels to read this one.
I’m delighted that Agora Books are publishing The Man in the Moonlight by Helen McCloy. It was first published in 1940 and features her series detective, Dr Basil Willing, a psychiatrist attached to the New York district attorney’s office. Assistant Chief Inspector Patrick Foyle is looking around Yorkville University, thinking he might suggest that his eldest son studies there. Foyle is in the building when Dr Franz Konradi dies. It looks like suicide but Konradi assured Foyle earlier in the day that he would NOT commit suicide. Was he murdered by a very clever person? As Willing says, “Just as if a rather academic mind had studied the subject and determined to manufacture a classic case of suicide including every known clue.” I didn’t enjoy McCloy’s Dance of Death, in which Basil Willing makes his debut. I thought his statements about psychology in that book were too far-fetched. The dialogue was also unrealistic – sentences were too literary and unnatural for real people talking to each other. I’m really pleased that this second book in the series doesn’t suffer from those faults. It’s a real page-turner and no, I didn’t guess who the murderer was – although I should have done so as the clues are in the text. However, even clever people make mistakes and Basil deduces who it must be. Basil’s statement in the last chapter is highly topical today: “Do you think of a scholar as someone living remote from political and industrial forces? That may have been scholarship in the Middle Ages or even in the nineteenth century, but not today. Every university and every research foundation depends on endowment from industry or the state.” #TheManintheMoonlight #NetGalley
A very memorable opening heralds some fine writing and clear plotting in the second Dr Basil Willing mystery, first published in 1940, and here reissued by Agora in their excellent Uncrowned Queens of Crime series. Set firmly in the world of academe with some nods to big business and banking, this tale of the murder of a refugee scientist is full of psychological insights, as well as some fun at the expense of psychologists who take themselves too seriously. The mood and atmosphere of early 1940's America is well-captured The tensions and doubts are well-maintained, and, although the cast of suspects is small, it is a tricky task to pinpoint the murderer. A very recommendable read. Thank you to NetGalley and Agora Books for the digital review copy.
I only recently discovered Helen McCloy as an author of the 1930s, and her psychiatrist detective, Basil Willing, and I must say I cannot read enough of her books. A very different detective mystery book, with very interesting characters and a very different style of story from those written in the era of the 1930. This book draws in a lot of movement, red herring, murder and and a touch of romance. A great puzzle.