A comedian is dead, a witness is missing, and only Miss Witherscan set things right
In comedy, timing is everything. If Tony Fagan were a better comic, perhaps he would’ve known when to keep his mouth shut. After weeks of jokes at the expense of businessman Winston H. “Junior” Gault, the sponsor of Fagan’s television show, Fagan is found with his head bashed in, and Gault is charged with the murder. The case seems open and shut, but Gault has the money to buy himself an acquittal. The only witness against him is Ina Kell—a small-town dreamer who came to New York to find fame—and she’s disappeared. It’s up to Hildegarde Withers, a retired schoolteacher with expertise in solving crime, to find the vanished witness. Ina may have come to New York seeking excitement, but she didn’t deserve to get caught in the line of fire. Nipped in the Bud is part of the Hildegarde Withers Mysteries series, which also includes The Penguin Pool Murder and Murder on the Blackboard.
“One of the world’s shrewdest and most amusing detectives.” —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.