Nurse Sarah Keate, the amateur snoop who made readers of The Patient in Room 18
and While the Patient Slept
shudder, is back in stand-up-to-the-devil form. Now she supervises the third floor of a metropolitan hospital. From the landings of a walnut stairway, unlighted for the sake of economy, she can see everything going on. She generally uses the stairs instead of the lurching cagelike elevator, but one sweltering summer night—!
Let her tell the strange story of a body where it shouldn’t be, and no body where it should have been. From This Dark Stairway, originally published in 1931, belongs to the golden age of detective fiction. Some suspiciously stylish people, a formula for a superior anesthetic, an antique Chinese snuff-bottle that Philo Vance would have coveted—these elements come together classically and chillingly.