The Rat Began To Gnaw the Rope

Poisoned Pen: Sourcebooks. (Library of Congress Crime Classics, Bk. 2). 2020. 304p. ISBN 9781464212987. pap. $14.99. M
This reissue of the 1943 debut by Louisville lawyer and father of fellow mystery writer Sue Grafton begins with lawyer Gil Henry, the youngest partner in his firm, being hired to investigate a possible sale of some stock Ruth McClure has inherited from her recently deceased father. He was an employee of the Harper Company in the Kentucky town of Harpersville. Gil has an accident on his drive to town; Ruth’s house is searched; and old Mr. Harper, president of the company, town patriarch, and potential buyer of Ruth’s stock, is murdered. Ruth’s adopted brother is quickly arrested for the crime, and Gil becomes his defense attorney. Shorter and pudgier than the typical hard-boiled hero, he uses his legal expertise and sharp wits to dig into the secrets of the town and its ruling family. More murders and the occasional knock on the head do not deter his curiosity or his sense of humor as he works to solve this tangle of crimes, motives, and secrets.
VERDICT Readers who like classic hard-boiled mysteries with a dash of humor will thoroughly enjoy this rollicking, well-plotted work. Fans of Sue Grafton’s writings will read this and appreciate that she came by her talents honestly.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing