Fri 20 Nov 2009
HOWARD BROWNE – Thin Air. Carroll & Graf, reprint paperback, 1983. Originally published by Simon & Schuster, hc, 1954; Dell #894, pb, 1956.
Ames Coryell, successful advertising executive, is bringing his wife, Leona, and their three year old daughter home from a peaceful, happy summer vacation. They arrive home at 3:00 a.m. Leona opens the front door and goes into their home. In the time it takes her husband to carry their daughter upstairs and come back down, she has disappeared — into thin air.
No signs of a struggle, purse left behind, and no goodbye note. What happened to Leona? And why does their daughter tell the police “why didn’t Mommy come home with us?”
Ames attempts to locate Leona himself, after feeling frustrated by the apparent unconcern of the police. On the other hand, the police consider it a strong possibility that Ames killed his wife.
When a woman resembling Leona is found murdered (discovered by Ames, no less!), the action and intrigue quicken.
This is a tautly written tale, with strong characterization and a compelling style. Thin Air is not likely to disappoint any mystery fan.