A rather strange murder mystery which is told mainly in retrospect. A celebrated artist who lived with seven women, his wife and daughters, is found murdered in a locked room. None of the women
are in evidence but there is, amongst his writings, a declaration of intent to kill them according to a
mystic astrological pattern Their bodies are found in the locations indicated over an extended period
as some are more deeply buried than others. All this is historical with there being two mysteries which have led to a considerable literature - the first is the locked-room mystery and the second is
the murders of the women as the artist was already dead before they were killed. The locked room
mystery is relatively easy to explain but solving the other murders takes time. The narrator has an
astrologer friend who eventually works out what really happened. This interplay between the
two is one of the standard approaches - Holmes and Watson et al. - and it works effectively here.