Rick Mills's Reviews > Deep Lay the Dead

Deep Lay the Dead by Frederick C. Davis
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it was amazing

Major characters:
Rigby Webb, professor of mathematics
Dr. Duncan Chandler, our host
Claire Chandler, his wife
Jill Chandler, their daughter
Tom Stowell, lawyer
Nick Winston, having an affair with Claire Chandler?
Tony Raye - gambler and dancer
Erica Kerrington, Tony's girlfriend
Max Harwick, pianist until his unfortunate accident
Ross Harwick, his son, a lawyer
Arnold Barclay, host of The Midnight Tattler radio show
Mary Peacock, the nurse who disappeared
Locale: rural Pennsylvania

Synopsis: World War II is in progress, and mathematics professor Rigby Webb receives a mysterious call to take a job with a physician, Duncan Chandler, in rural Pennsylvania. He heads there as a major snowstorm sets in.

Chandler, also an expert on codes and ciphers, has turned his home medical office into a secure room to work on a secret government project - creating an unbreakable cipher for war communications. Webb is also an expert on codes and ciphers, having written academic papers on them. Webb accepts the job offer as his assistant. His previous assistant met with an "accident" which no one talks about.

One of the guests is bitter Max Harwick, a famous pianist, who has just lost two fingers after a hunting accident. Chandler had to amputate them to save his life, but Harwick's career is ruined. Attorney Ross Harwick, his son, wants an out-of-court settlement, but Chandler insists on going to trial to prove his good intentions.

Word comes that an enemy spy is after the secret cipher. A courier is coming to the house with news of his identity. As he approaches, a shot is fired from an upstairs window, killing the courier and causing him to fall into an abandoned quarry.

With the house firmly snowed in, one of the occupants is likely the enemy spy - and a murderer.


This is an enjoyable book, and it is my tradition to take it off the shelf and read it once a year whenever we get a big snowstorm. It never gets old. Suspicion falls on each person in turn. Rigby Webb is an enjoyable character. There is additional drama with a couple of marital affairs, and Rigby always has his own eye on Jill.

This book really, really needs a sketch map of the home. Perhaps the original edition had one, but my Collier edition does not; so I made my own. See my blog post for the sketch here.

Try to get a copy for your next blizzard. The Collier uniform edition in blue/black binding is much more common than the original printing.
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Reading Progress

January 19, 2019 – Started Reading
January 19, 2019 – Shelved
January 24, 2019 – Finished Reading

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Rick Mills Here is my character list, synopsis (no spoilers), and review >> https://readinggoldenagemysteries.blo...

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