The Deadly Truth
A Dr Basil Willing Mystery
by Helen McCloy
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 25 Mar 2021 | Archive Date 1 Jun 2021
“Truth is always unpleasant and usually intolerable.”
When psychologist Dr Basil Willing rents a cottage on Long Island for a vacation, he falls into the company of his landlady, Claudia Bethune and her friends.
But when Claudia throws a last minute dinner party with a special cocktail, Basil’s relaxing holiday takes a turn. It seems Claudia’s drink du jour has in fact been laced with a new truth serum. And as secrets begin to spill, everyone is on edge.
When morning comes, it seems there are some lasting effects to the night’s imbibing: the hostess herself is found dead at the table.
Now, all thoughts of holiday set aside, Dr Willing finds himself at the heart of the murder case. Will he be able to use his skills to untangle the lies from the truth and bring the killer to justice?
A Note From the Publisher
If you enjoyed reading The Deadly Truth, we'd really appreciate seeing your honest review on Amazon. Thank you and happy reading, Agora Books.
PRAISE FOR THE DEADLY TRUTH & HELEN MCCLOY
“excellent writing an Grade A sleuthing” – Frank Gruber, Chicago Daily News
“three rousing cheers… Handled with a wit and sensitivity which are nothing short of fascinating. Helen McCloy has now written three excellent and highly civilised murder mysteries; this is the best” – New York Times
“Another Grade A positively don’t miss here… The book is a whiz.” – Will Cuppy, Herald Tribune
“worthy of a second listing” – Jack Ketch, New York Herald Tribune
“a swift, witty story” – The New Yorker
“McCloy has always resembled the best writers of the Sayers-Blake-Allingham school” – New York Times
“Miss McCloy is definitely the best butter” – The Spectator
“the real McCoy when it comes to first rate mysteries” – The Philadelphia Record
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 45 members
Another excellent novel from Helen McCloy with her character Dr Basil Willing a psychiatrist who works for the New York District Attorney. In this novel Mrs Claudia Bethune is holding a weekend party at her house, during the early hours of Saturday morning she is brutally murdered by someone using her own necklace as a tourniquet. There are five guests in the house and one of them is the murderer, follow the story and discover who committed the crime and why.
A Bizarre Twist Of Events.... Another hugely enjoyable entry into the excellent Agora Books’ Uncrowned Queens of Crime series and the third Dr Basil Willing mystery. The eminent psychologist, and sometime amateur sleuth, has rented a cottage on Long Island anticipating a much needed holiday but in a bizarre twist of events he finds himself amidst a murder investigation instead. The plot is complex, interesting and rather unique, the characters colourful and well drawn and the dialogue credible. A pleasure, thoroughly entertaining reading and a worthy addition to the series.
Helen McCloy’s The Deadly Truth is her third book featuring Dr Basil Willing, first published in 1941. I was really lukewarm about the first book, but the second was much better and this third one maintains the standard. Dr Willing is having a vacation (yes, I found it hard to believe too!) in a beach cottage belonging to Claudia and Mike Bethune. Claudia is not a nice lady. She’s given to vicious practical jokes and this time she’s stolen a truth serum with which she wants to lace guests’ drinks at a dinner party. We all know that the truth can hurt and it looks like maybe it hurt someone a lot as Claudia is found dead the next morning. Although Basil has no official standing out here on the coast, he still gets drawn into the case, partly because he found the body. I was torn on that point: would local police allow someone (who should be considered a possible suspect) to roam as freely as Basil? Or would they be grateful for some professional help? I really don’t know, but am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. The mystery aspects (whodunnit and why) are good: we see why each of the suspects might have had a motive; but my delight in the novel is based upon discovering Basil is human: (a) he takes vacations; (b) he gets caught speeding; (c) he spends an evening out with a woman. The book shows us a new aspect of Basil Willing. I hope Agora publish the next book in the series soon, so I can find out whether he continues to demonstrate more aspects of his humanity. #TheDeadlyTruth #NetGalley
This is the second Dr Basil Willing book that I've read from the republished series by Agora Books. I liked the first book, but I really enjoyed this one. The seaside setting was very memorable and I loved all the deliciously dysfunctional characters and the experimental truth serum plot. None of the guests want their dirty secrets revealed, but which one killed to hide the truth? A quick, entertaining read and a satisfying denouement. Just what I wanted. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing a review copy in exchange for honest feedback.
I loved this. Total escapism. A really well written golden age whodunnit set in the Hamptons, with great characterisation, a complex plot, truth serums, double cross and scandal.
Dr Roger Slater has developed a new 'truth drug' which he believes friend and socialite Claudia Bethune has stolen a sample because she believes that it would be fun to use on her house guests at Blessingbourne. Dr Basil Willing is her tenant for the season, and investigates the aftermath of the dinner party with the aid of the local police. An entertaining and well-written historical mystery with its cast of varied characters. A good addition to the series which can easily be read as a standalone story. An ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
The books featuring Dr. Basil Willing are a great read and really enthralling to the very end. They certainly give Agatha Christie a run for her money! The plot here is ingenious and keeps the reader guessing all along. I would love to read the entire catalogue of books by Helen McCloy. I'm definitely a big fan.
In "The Deadly Truth," Dr. Basil Willing, a psychiatrist attached to New York City's district attorney's office, rents a summer beach house on Long Island from Claudia and Michael Bethune. Dr. Willing has managed so far to avoid attending any of the numerous parties thrown by the Bethunes at Blessingbourne, their large home. Claudia is known for her party practical jokes, which don't always end well for her guests. Dr. Roger Slater, who formerly owned Blessingbourne, is a scientist who has just developed Novopolamin, a "truth serum," and fears Claudia has stolen a vial of pills to use on her unsuspecting guests at her latest party. Doctors Willing and Slater meet by chance on Long Island and Dr. Willing gives Dr. Slater a ride to Blessingbourne where other guests have assembled. Dr. Willing has a previous engagement that evening and leaves. When returning to his beach rental in the wee hours of the morning, his car stalls near Blessingbourne and it looks like the big house is on fire. It isn't, but he does stumble upon a murder. First copywrited in 1941, "The Deadly Truth," is an interesting country house murder with characters that you love to hate, with the exception of young Peggy Titus, who doesn't seem to be the type of person normally associated with the Bethunes. Without resorting to a new drug, Dr. Willing must discover the truth of what happened at the party to find a killer. The book is a product of its time and there are a some stereotypes and assumptions made about women and others. It is well paced and an enjoyable mystery.
This is the third Basil Willing book that I have read and I enjoy them all. This one was very intriguing and I felt I got to know Basil better as he was essentially doing most of the sleuthing himself. Again, the plot was well paced with suspenseful twists and turns and the characters were well drawn and plausible. I would recommend this to readers who enjoy well written classic crime. There are plenty of red herrings and I was, like Basil, unsure who was guilty. Though unlike him I was kept guessing up until the end!
This is the third Basil Willing mystery for me and definitely the best. The plot moved well, the characters, while a bit over the top personality-wise, were still believable, and the ending satisfying. It definitely kept me engaged as I read it in two sittings!