Lay On, Mac Duff! - Charlotte Armstrong This was a pretty good mystery, especially for being the author’s first published novel. I could not find any unanswered questions or other details to nitpick, as I often do. The narration makes the story seem light at the beginning, but it gets serious fast. I was reminded of [b:The Mysteries of Udolpho|93134|The Mysteries of Udolpho|Ann Radcliffe||3253891] and [b:And Then There Were None|16299|And Then There Were None|Agatha Christie||3038872] in various places. And there’s a paragraph where J.J. is describing Mac Duff’s house which reminded me very much of the description of the victim’s house in Ellery Queen’s [b:Tragedy of X|971581|Tragedy of X|Barnaby Ross||956478], right down to the house overlooking a river, and being in New York. It gave me déjà vu and made me think I’d read this book before, but I haven’t. All the seriousness and gothic fear of running around a big old house in the dark, and making sure they never disturb Uncle Charles, is balanced, probably over-balanced, by the ridiculous way that Bessie and J.J. decide they’re in love with each other after about an hour’s acquaintance. All the same, I enjoyed the mystery. It’s sort of easy to figure out whodunit, but the how-did-he-do-it is more of a challenge.