A ritzy bedroom - Belgrave Square, London - the kind that has a safe hidden behind a painting, and a masked intruder is robbing the jewellery and murdering the maid.
Belgrave square, 1961 you know the sort of thing, a white building of apartments with black and white check floors. Inspector Forbes (Basil Dignam) calls on the returning occupants, a Mr and Mrs Stewart. Nina Stewart (Delphi Lawrence) nips round to see Bill Lawrence (Conrad Phillips) a lawyer who spends his time lounging with feet up on his office desk, toying with a soda syphon. The emerald jewellery which Mrs Stewart has had stolen was a gift from her boyfriend, Alvarez, a sort of sinister, continental playboy (a staple character of Wallace's books) and she doesn't want it getting in the papers. A passage into the papers would most likely be provided by Henry Adams (Paul Daneman), a public relations secretary to her husband. Adams falls under suspicion on account of his having a key to the apartment but that's OK because Mr Stewart gives him one when he goes a way a key, that is. On account of strange squares four strips making a square shape left on the wall at the crime scene, the police suspect a thief called McGuire the squares at the scene of the crime was his emblem however, he's otherwise detained (dead in Newport Pagnell).
Bill Lawrence, despite various attempts on his life, seems to have great fun solving this one, including pulling one of Alvarez's girlfriends, Marie (Jacqueline Jones), a sort of blonde, French Shirley Ann Field, and taking her to the Embassy Club note, not the Bernard Manning one to see Josetta's cabaret. Josetta (Miriam Karlin no less, she's the Catlady in A Clockwork Orange) is Alvarez's estranged wife. The entertainment consists of a magic act and a lot of big girls dancing round in big knickers.
There are lots of suspects and a very obvious red herring, in effete, home hairdresser Gordon, in this one. The real villain only appears in the story late on (apart from in photograph) so it's difficult to care.
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