William F. Deeck

DOLAN BIRKLEY [DOLORES HITCHENS] – The Blue Geranium. Simon & Schuster, hardcover, 1941; Bart House #8, paperback, 1944.


   Nina Arkwright is found hacked to death in a cubicle in the pool dressing room of the Hotel Quillan. In the cubicle with the corpse are a green hat, which Nina would never have worn but apparently did, a collection of newspaper clippings, and a geranium and the broken flowerpot that had held it.

   A fire ax was used to do the horrible deed, but it is nowhere to be found and, from all the testimony, could not have been removed from the area without someone having noticed.

   The plot is a good one; its execution not so good. The main character is a female who spends a great deal of time trying to protect the man she loves. Even when it becomes obvious that he could not have committed the second murder, also done with the fire ax, and therefore is innocent of the first murder, she continues to keep information from the police.

   Our heroine devises a way to trap the killer, all by herself. When she manages to do so, she is astonished that the killer is upset by the success of her scheme — which would have been patent had the murder been only mildly astute — and intends to do her bodily harm.

   What she thought the murderer’s reaction might be under these circumstances — commendation, perhaps — is never vouchsafed to the reader.

— From The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 12, No. 2, Spring 1990.

Bibliographic Notes:   Dolores Hitchens wrote one other crime novel under this byline, The Unloved (Doubleday, 1965). Under her own name and that of Noel Burke and D. B. Olsen, she was the author of several dozen others. A short entry for her as one of the authors in the Ziff-Davis line of Fingerprint Mysteries can be found on the primary Mystery*File website. (Scroll down.)