This Nigel Strangeways mystery, Head of a Traveler (1949), offers a traditional manor house setting, erudite suspects, poetic allusions, and a satisfying, layered solution. Poetry and murder become intertwined as the poet Nigel Strangeways investigates a rural murder that involves the family of Robert Seaton, one of the most distinguished poets in England.
For those new to the Strangeways stories, Nicholas Blake was a pseudonym for Cecil Day-Lewis, a respected English poet himself. In fact, Day-Lewis served as poet laureate from 1968 until his death in 1972.
As is typical in a Strangeways mystery, this murder has its roots in the past. Critical past events and hidden relationships are gradually revealed, shifting the spotlight from one suspect to another. In the concluding chapters alternative solutions are considered in rapid sequence, each successive solution fitting the evidence more closely.
Head of a Traveler is an entertaining mystery that would make a good introduction to the Nigel Strangeways series.