LOCKRIDGES Murder Comes First

  RICHARD & FRANCES LOCKRIDGE – Murder Comes First. Pocket, paperback reprint, July 1982. Originally published by J. B. Lippincott, hardcover, 1951. Also: Avon #434, paperback, 1952.

   There is simply no mistaking a Mr. & Mrs. North mystery novel, and it is great to have [some of] them back in print again. Why hasn’t anybody thought of it sooner? The warm, comfortable sounds of their adventures together have been sorely missed.

LOCKRIDGES Murder Comes First

   In this one of two just reprinted by Pocket, three of Pam’s maiden aunts from Cleveland have come to the big city for a visit. Disaster strikes when another friend they are calling on mysteriously dies of poison. While Pam’s Aunt Thelma may be as unlikely a murder suspect as you can imagine, that doesn’t stop Deputy Chief Inspector Artemus O’Malley from thinking he can wrap it up quickly.

   The inspector, Bill Wiegand admits to Pam, likes things simple. Sergeant Mullins, of course, knows better. “I should have known,” he says. “It’s begun to go screwy.”

   Part of the screwiness is that the FBI eventually gets involved, for reasons somewhat pertinent to the date of the story. (It was first published in 1951.) Even so, in spite of this worn-out bit of misbehavior at the core, this is still as bright and irresistible a work of entertainment as it ever was. More!

Rating:    B

— Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier,
       Vol. 7, No. 2, March-April 1983.

[UPDATE] 07-11-12.   According to my records, which are, I’m afraid, woefully incomplete, Pocket published at least eight of the North’s adventures between 1982 and 1983. There were in total something like 26 of them in all, so they fell way short of doing the complete series. I don’t think many of them, if any, have been in print ever since.

LOCKRIDGES Murder Comes First