A 1001 MIDNIGHTS Review
by Art Scott:


CARTER BROWN – Lament for a Lousy Lover. Signet S1856, paperback original; 1st printing, 1960 [Baryť cover art]. Third printing: Signet D3162 [Robert McGinnis cover]. Also published in Carter Brown Long Story Magazine #19, Australia, Horwitz, 1961.

CARTER BROWN Lament for a Lousy Lover

   The Australian writer Alan G. Yates, a veritable one-man paperback factory, has turned out hundreds of lightweight private-eye and police novels under the Carter Brown pseudonym. The books borrow liberally from the old Spicy Detective pulp formula: action, wisecracks, coarse humor, plenty of voluptuous un- and underdressed sexpots.

   This one is a bit unusual in that it features two of Brown’s regular series characters in one book: Al Wheeler, the skirt-chasing Pine City sheriff’s detective; and Mavis Seidlitz, an astonishingly endowed and astoundingly dizzy blonde who somehow manages to fmd work as a private eye.

   Their historic meeting was prompted by a suggestion from Anthony Boucher, the only mystery critic of consequence to regularly review Brown’s paperbacks.

   As is the case with many of Brown’s books, the background is Hollywood. Mavis is on location for the filming of a hit TV western series, hired to keep a couple of feuding starlets apart. The star is murdered (via the ancient wheeze of substituting live bullets for blanks), and Wheeler is assigned to the case.

CARTER BROWN Lament for a Lousy Lover

   Everybody has a likely motive; another murder ensues; Mavis blunders around like an idiot; Wheeler lusts after the starlets and winds up with Mavis. The first-person narrative alternates between Wheeler and Mavis (Yates/Brown deserves extra credit for successfully managing to provide this burlesque caricature with a semi-plausible character voice).

   Among the dozens of other Al Wheeler novels are The Brazen (1960), Burden of Guilt (1970), and Wheeler Fortune (1974). Mavis Seidlitz also stars in None but the Lethal Heart (1959) and Tomorrow Is Murder (1960).

   Brown’s other series characters include L.A. private eye Rick Holman; Randy Roberts, a randy San Francisco lawyer; and Hollywood scriptwriter Larry Baker and his drunken partner, Boris Slivka.

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   Reprinted with permission from 1001 Midnights, edited by Bill Pronzini & Marcia Muller and published by The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, 2007.   Copyright © 1986, 2007 by the Pronzini-Muller Family Trust.

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Other Carter Brown novels reviewed on this blog —

      Meet Murder, My Angel, by Geoff Bradley.

      The Deadly Kitten, by Stephen Mertz.

      Plus Toni Johnson-Woods on the CARTER BROWN MYSTERY THEATRE.