I read this book about 25-Aug-2002. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 1942. This note was last modified Monday, 28-Feb-2005 21:10:07 PST.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
Two stories in this one, one matching the title, the other "Booby Trap".
The title is based on a trick I haven't seen used before or since (though mystery isn't my home genre). A person hears a false report of a crime, and ends up running off to cause it to really happen. This provides sort of an alibi, since it fixes the time of the crime incorrectly. At least until the original report is overturned. It's a stupid attempt really, since the report will probably be overturned.
Both of them are set during WWII. The first one includes Wolfe and Fritz trying to get into shape to join the Army. Archie, already in the Army, has as his assignment to get Wolfe to sit down and start applying his brain to some mysteries relating to security. He ends up framing himself for a murder to get things started. It's a bit of a wild ride.
The second one involves industrial espionage taking advantage of war-time information sharing. At least one of the principals is caught at it, and since conviction looks difficult Wolfe talks him into committing suicide.