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Murder on the Blackboard - Stuart Palmer

Murder on the Blackboard

Author Stuart Palmer

  • Published: 2013-05-14
  • Category: Mysteries & Thrillers


Schoolteacher sleuth Miss Withers finds a dead body during detention in this mystery starring “one of the world’s shrewdest and most amusing detectives” (The New York Times).

Anise Halloran is young to be teaching school, and much too pretty, but third-grade teacher Hildegarde Withers is not the sort to condemn a coworker just because she wears high heels. When she overhears nine-year-old Buster Jones spreading rumors about Miss Halloran being sweet on the principal, Miss Withers orders the schoolyard quarterback to write discipline on the chalkboard one hundred times. Anise Halloran stays late after school, too. In fact, she stays forever. Miss Withers finds Anise in the cloakroom, her head bashed in, and her high heels strewn across the floor. She sends Buster to fetch Inspector Piper, the hard-nosed detective whom she occasionally assists with murder inquiries, but by the time he arrives, the body has vanished. There is a killer inside the elementary school, and Buster Jones is not the only person whom Miss Withers will have to teach a lesson about discipline.

“[Withers is] one of the first and still one of the best.” —Anthony Boucher “One of the world’s shrewdest and most amusing detectives.” —The New York Times “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.