Edgar Wallace has a fertile imagination when it comes to exploring the depravity of the human species. Like most of his books that I've read so far, this tale is a bit convoluted but still rather gripping. I actually had less trouble than normal keeping track of all the various characters, but I've learned that it pays to take notes whilst reading Wallace. Fortunately, with a kindle doing so is a breeze.
So, we have ace reporter, Peter Dewin. He is following the trail of some crimes or potential crimes marked by the leaving of a card with a drawing of a feathered serpent on it. Some folks are getting these cards, and although they deny any understanding of the figure, they are none-the-less terrorized by having received said cards. One is Ella Creed, a famous actress. Another Leicester Crewe, a stock trader. Then there's Joe Farmer, who is a boxing promoter and someone who used to run a pub. Finally, we have Paula Staines, a woman who does very fine black and white drawings. What could be the connection, if any, between them, and why are they getting the feathered serpent cards? Are they warnings of some kind.
Well, to learn more about feathered serpents, Dewin tracks down Gregory Beale, who is an archeologist/philanthropist, lately returned from a decade in Central America, or so he intimates anyway. Apparently, feathered serpents feature strongly in the mythology of the Maya and Aztec cultures. Beale has just hired Daphne Olroyd to be his private secretary. She had previously worked for Leicester Crewe. Dewin had met Ms. Olroyd at a restaurant and had almost immediately fallen in love with her. So, how does that all work out?
Oh yeah, there is a mysterious William Lane, who was alleged to have been released from prison recently, but who apparently was killed by a car in an accident outside a house he and two of his companions were in the process of burgling. But, one of the former companions thinks he has seen Lane. Is it a ghost, or did Lane not die, despite there being a death certificate attesting that he had? How does that work?
And so forth. It's an entertaining yarn with which to while away these dreary days of waiting for spring through endless dank days of drizzle.