Tue 9 Aug 2011
William F. Deeck
ROGER EAST – Murder Rehearsal. Knopf, hardcover, 1934. First published in the UK: Collins, hardcover, 1933.
When several “accidental” but suspicious deaths occur following the plot of Colin Knowles’s detective novel in progress, and one of those deaths could be advantageous to him in regaining his lost love, is Knowles turning art into reality? But why, then, the additional deaths?
Superintendent Simmonds of Scotland Yard is called in to investigate the first death and, later, with the help of Knowles’s unfinished novel, makes the connection with the other deaths in a book that combines the thriller and the detective story. If nothing else, this novel gives the reader the chance to re-encounter the greatly cherished delayed revenge motif, despite the necessity to swallow some large coincidences.
In the Manchester Evening Chronicle, Dr. Watson — frankly, I doubt that this was our Dr. Watson — said East “seems likely to become one of the small band of really first-class detective-story writers.” The promise is here, but it’s only a promise.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: [Taken from the Revised Crime Fiction IV, by Allen J. Hubin.]
EAST, ROGER. Pseudonym of Roger Burford, 1904- ; other pseudonym: Simon.
The Mystery of the Monkey-Gland Cocktail (n.) Putnam 1932.
Murder Rehearsal (n.) Collins 1933 [Colin Knowles; Supt. Simmonds]
The Bell Is Answered (n.) Collins 1934.
Candidate for Lilies (n.) Collins 1934.
Twenty-Five Sanitary Inspectors (n.) Collins 1935 [Supt. Simmonds]
Detectives in Gum Boots (n.) Collins 1936 [Colin Knowles]
The Pearl Choker (n.) Collins 1954.
Kingston Black (n.) Collins 1960.
The Pin Men (n.) Hodder 1963.
SIMON. Pseudonym of Roger Burford & Henry Joseph Hasslacher.
Murder Among Friends (n.) Wishart 1933 [Insp. (Supt.) Deering]
Death on the Swim (n.) Wishart 1934 [Insp. (Supt.) Deering]
The Cat with the Moustache (n.) Wishart 1935 [Insp. (Supt.) Deering]