A model is dead in Central Park, and the only witness to the crime is a horse named Siwash
The evening’s party is over, and modeling sensation Violet Feverel wants to get in a quick horse ride before the dawn breaks. She saddles up Siwash the stallion, and gallops onto the Central Park bridle path, eager to begin what will be the last ride of her life. On the other side of the park, Miss Hildegarde Withers—schoolmarm and expert sleuth—breaks into a grin when she hears a patrolman’s radio mention a “Code 44.” As she knows all too well, “Code 44” means a dead body—and “dead bodies” mean adventure. Miss Withers follows the cop to the crime scene, where they find Violet Feverel lying dead, having apparently fallen from her horse. But if she died when she hit the ground, then why is Siwash marked with a spot of blood? For Miss Withers, answering this question will prove more exciting than an afternoon at the races—and much more risky. The Puzzle of the Red Stallion is part of the Hildegarde Withers Mysteries series, which also includes The Penguin Pool Murder and Murder on the Blackboard.
“Good characterization, a puzzling plot and horses—what more could one ask?” —The New York Times “[Withers is] of the first and still one of the best.” —Anthony Boucher “Full of fun and delightful people. A really terrific plot.” —The Chicago Daily News, on Four Lost Ladies
Stuart Palmer (1905–1968) was an American author of mysteries. Born in Baraboo, Wisconsin, Palmer worked a number of odd jobs—including apple picking, journalism, and copywriting—before publishing his first novel, the crime drama Ace of Jades, in 1931. It was with his second novel, however, that he established his writing career: The Penguin Pool Murder introduced Hildegarde Withers, a schoolmarm who, on a field trip to the New York Aquarium, discovers a dead body in the pool. Withers was an immensely popular character, and went on to star in thirteen more novels, including Miss Withers Regrets (1947) and Nipped in the Bud (1951). A master of intricate plotting, Palmer found success writing for Hollywood, where several of his books, including The Penguin Pool Murder, were filmed by RKO Pictures Inc.