William F. Deeck

BILL S. BALLINGER The Tooth and the Nail

BILL S. BALLINGER – The Tooth and the Nail. Harper, hardcover, 1955. Signet #1319, 1956; cover by Robert Maguire.

   A damsel in mild distress captures the attention of Lew Mountain, professional magician, and he comes gallantly to her rescue. She arrives in New York with a hatbox, an exceptionally heavy small satchel, and no dollar to pay the cab driver. Soon she joins Mountain’s act and marries him.

   Inevitably, given the folly of the female in distress, tragedy ensues. Mountain then — and I give away nothing here, repeating only what the author says in the prologue — avenges murder, commits murder, and is murdered in the attempt.

   While I can’t wax as enthusiastic as some reviewers have over this novel, it definitely is an enjoyable reading experience.

— From The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 13, No. 4, Fall 1992.