' Only temporarily is Ruth Miller, department-store clerk, happy with her move from a furnished room to Hope House, a Home for Girls. Upon entering the lobby of her new domicile, she is frightened by a face from the past. Miller makes plans to get away, but her assisted plunge from a seventh-floor window renders her schemes nugatory.
A wealthy customer of the department store who liked Miller hires Marc East to investigate because the death is being treated as a suicide. Reluctantly, for he also thinks the death was self-inflicted, East begins checking out Hope House and its denizens.
More and more evidence, including the bludgeoning of a young lady in one of the bathrooms, accumulates to persuade East that Miller was murdered.'
"Miss Small and Miss Brady did everything to make their boarders feel safe and secure: Hope House was one of the few places in New York City where a young working woman could enjoy a homey atmosphere at very little cost. When Ruth Miller move in, however, the atmosphere seemed to change, and when her mangled body was found in the courtyard, the miasma engulfing Hope House became stifling. Suddenly no one was quite what she seemed, and no one--from the chattering desk clerk to the young woman whose thoughts about the possibilities of a Saturday-night date were overshadowed by the terrifying proximity of death by violence--was above suspicion."
'‘They had names like Betty and Peggy and Janie. They meant nothing, they looked exactly alike.’ It is quite telling that Lawrence themes the fancy dress party so all the attendees are in identical dress.'
'‘she wanted to know that all of her seventy girls were safe and sound in their seventy good, though narrow, cots, sleeping correctly and dreamlessly because they were properly nourished and had no ugly little troubles that they hadn’t confessed.’ There is a really feeling of a lack of privacy and individuality, yet surprisingly the story’s victim initially sees this place as a beacon of hope and refuge.'
'this is a great, classic mystery, set in a labyrinthine home for "working girls" (i.e., young girls with low-paying jobs in the city). The atmosphere is marvelously creepy, and there are several scenes that cause shivers, particularly when all the girls are dressed in identical, blank-faced doll costumes for a party. '
'creates an air of real menace in her books'