Banished from the idyllic English countryside he once called home and en route to live with his cousin in America, Sir John Farnleigh, black sheep of the wealthy Farnleigh clan, nearly perished in the sinking of the Titanic. Though he survived the catastrophe, his ties with his family did not, and he never returned to England-not even for the funerals of his mother, his father, or, most recently, his older brother Dudley. Now, nearly 25 years since he was first sent away, Sir John has finally returned home to claim his inheritance. But another "Sir John" soon follows, an unexpected man who insists he has absolute proof of his identity and of his claim to the estate. Before the case can be settled, however, one of the two men is murdered, and Dr. Gideon Fell, who happens to be passing through the village, finds himself facing one of the most challenging cases of his career. To solve it, he'll have to confront a series of bizarre and chilling phenomena, diving deep into the realm of the occult and brushing up against witchcraft, magic, and a sinister automaton to explain a seemingly impossible crime.
Selected by a panel of twelve mystery luminaries as one of the ten best locked-room mysteries of all time, The Crooked Hinge is a creepy and atmospheric puzzle inspired by a real life case. It is the ninth installment in the Dr. Gideon Fell series, which may be read in any order.