William F. Deeck

GEORGE SELMARK Murder in Silence

GEORGE SELMARK – Murder in Silence. Cassell, UK, hardcover, 1939. Doubleday/Crime Club, US, 1940. Thriller Novel Classic #37, no date [1945], abridged.

   The septuagenarian vicar of Twitten has gone and done it. He has married a chorus girl, and he is returning unrepentant but panting to the vicarage. Meanwhile, his daughter, who has something on her mind but it’s apparently not her father’s unfortunate marriage, disappears.

   Most unusually, the chorus girl turns out to live up, or down, to the typical chorus-girl reputation. Deaths start occurring. A demented but chuckling villain appears at night. The heroine is brave and bright. The hero is dull and sensible. Inspector Bass drinks too much at the village pub and at the Twitten Manor Home for Inebriates, joining the home’s owner, Dr. MacFarlane, who always has a bottle handy, while the murderer remains unapprehended.

    A thriller-type novel with a twist and some interesting characters. George Selmark is a pseudonym of Seldon Truss. Truss wrote only one novel under this name with a detective that Truss had written about under his own name. Odd.

— From The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 11, No. 1, Winter 1989.

Bibliographic Notes:   To clarify Bill’s last paragraph, Murder Is Silence is the only novel to have been published first under the George Selmark byline. Two mysteries first published in the UK in the 1960s as by Seldon Truss were reprinted in the US as by George Selmark.

   As for Inspector Bass, he appeared in two other novels under Truss’s name, both also in the 1930s.