The Black-Headed Pins

The Black-Headed Pins - Constance Little, Gwenyth Little This was an entertaining little cozy that has definitely stood the test of time. Originally published back in 1938, the Little sisters were pioneers of the cozy mystery genre, though I'm not even sure if it was called that back then.

The story takes place in a drafty, old mansion, owned by a miserly, old woman named Mrs. Ballister. Living in the house with Mrs. Ballister is her cook, Doris, and her housekeeper and companion, Leigh Smith. It's Leigh who narrates the story, which is told from the first person point-of-view.

Mrs. Ballister has decided to call all her nieces and nephews together for a Christmas party at her house. Yet the night before everyone is to arrive, a strange dragging sound is heard coming from the attic up above. Mrs. Ballister is immediately on alert and tells Leigh that the noise portends the coming death of someone from the Ballister family who will meet with a fatal accident, and that if the body is not watched until it is buried, it will walk again! Unfortunately, with a number of relatives due to arrive tomorrow, this is not very welcome news.

And so the story goes.... One by one, several of the relatives begin to meet with unfortunate accidents around the house. And always the night before each incident, the strange dragging sound is heard up in the attic. With the help of Joe the cop and Berg's friend Richard, Leigh finds herself playing sleuth and stealing through the large house looking for clues. But will they be able to figure out who's behind it all before the mystery haunter strikes again?