This is my first year participating in Jay's Deal Me In Challenge . In a nutshell--we line up 52 short stories for the year, we match those stories up to a card in a regular deck of card, and each week we shuffle our deck (of real cards) and draw a card from whatever remains in the deck. Week #7 gave me the six of clubs (seeing lots of clubs early...) and "The House Divided" by Thomas W. Hanshew found in The World's Best One Hundred Detective Stories Vol. 7 edited by Eugene Thwing. I was a very bad girl last week and did not get this reviewed and posted properly. [Coming soon--Week #9]
"The House Divided" is the second story so far by Hanshew and it brings back Monsieur Cleek or as he refers to himself, "Cleek of Scotland Yard, Cleek of the Forty Faces, if you want complete details." Superintendent Maverick Narkom (truly of Scotland Yard) comes to Cleek with a case that has a reward that "runs well into five figures." But before the Superintendent can give him any details, Cleek spies a letter on his desk--written if a familiar hand. After perusing its contents, he tells Narkom that he cannot stay to hear about the case because someone with a claim of friendship has asked for his immediate assistance. Leaving Narkom with mouth agape (at giving up a chance for a handsome reward), Cleek rushes off to Devonshire to see what is troubling the lovely Ailsa Lorne.
The trouble belongs to the fiance of Miss Lorne's dearest friend. Lieutenant Bridewell's father, a retired sea captain, has been stricken by a mysterious wasting disease that is slowly eating away at his right arm. A famous doctor has taken up the case, but Captain Bridewell just gets worse and worse. The Lieutenant fears that his father's life is in danger and suspects foul play. It can't be poison because the Lieutenant has a portion of everything served to the older man. The young lieutenant begs Cleek to get to the bottom of the mystery and save his father. It doesn't take the famous detective long to discover the source of the "disease" and to pinpoint the guilty party.