While walking home late one evening, Frank Spargo, assistant editor of London's WATCHMAN newspaper, sees a dead body that the police have just discovered in Middle Temple Lane, that has identification. At first it appears that this might simply be a case of a drunk who fell down some stairs, but by working alongside New Scotland Yard's Detective Sergeant Rathbury, he learns who the man was, what caused his death, and about some diamonds, rare stamps, and a mysterious leather box. At the time this story was written, it was considered one of the best of its genre and was widely read throughout the UK and also here in the States, especially by our then-President, Woodrow Wilson. And one should t igre the coincidence between J.S. Fletcher and Angela Lansbury's popular Murder She Wrote TV heroine J.B. Fletcher, both mystery writers
Joseph Smith Fletcher was a journalist who was the lead writer on several newspapers before he became an author. His early books were about history, but he soon turned to crime fiction. He was born in Halifax, Yorkshire, England in 1863. After studying law, he turned to journalism and also wrote many historical works. But with his background in criminology he soon turned his pen to writing thrilling detective and crime mysteries. Fletcher was prolific (over 100 books) and very popular. The ''The Middle Temple Murder, '' published in 1918, is considered by many to have been his masterpiece. The plotting is ingenious and the approach is modern, with very little padding and a good deal of sharp dialogue, mostly by the protagonist, the editor-turned-reporter, Frank Spargo. Fletcher died in 1933.