Susan Gilruth Postscript to Penelope: A Detective Novel (London: Robert Hale Ltd., 1954).
Someone has murdered internationally sought-after model Penelope Russell-Moore and hidden her body in the garage of Cumberland Mews. Liane Craufurd, lady of leisure while her husband slaves away at the War Office, has been renting Penelope's mews home and cannot resist looking into the circumstances of the murder. Who would kill the lovely Penelope?
What does the millionaire invalid in No. 4 have to do with Penelope? What is the "precious and chi-chi" interior decorator in No. 3 doing in his sound-proof room? Why is his housemate Colin mooning about instead of writing "endless intense psychological novels which nobody could ever be persuaded to publish". Why does the milliner in No. 6 loathe everyone? What has the sleazy American business man in No. 5 been up to that makes his frightened wife desert him? Has the milliner's shy daughter really caught the eye of Lord (Slinky) Cavanagh, aristocratic playboy? Does Madame Rozanne the clairvoyant know the answer? And why shoot a barrow-boy?
Fortunately Liane has a good friend in Detective-Inspector Hugh Gordon from Scotland Yard who can help her sort out what's going on in the panopticon-like setting of the mews. But not, of course, before Liane faces terrible danger, buys a devastating new hat and has really decent meal "somewhere much more amusing" than the Ritz - "the crêpes suzettes were heaven".
OK, this book is very fluffy, but it is amusing: the motives are nice and neat and the dialogue is crisp. The mews setting provides a suitably closeted atmosphere and even if the murderer does conform to a popular wicked stereotype, this is a neat take on it after all. There are other Liane 'Lee' Craufurd books, should the fancy take you.
If you liked this... some sort of posh detective is required. Ngaio Marsh's A Surfeit of Lampreys (1941) would do the trick.