William F. Deeck

BRANDON BIRD – Downbeat for a Dirge. Dodd Mead, hardcover, 1952. Detective Book Club, hardcover reprint, 3-in-1 edition. Also published as: Dead and Gone: Dell 857, paperback, 1955.

   While the sublettor of the apartment under Hampton Hume’s is with Hume and his wife, the woman rehearsing a song is murdered in a room below. During the wait for the police, the woman’s body is removed, presumably by the murderer, and an attempt is made to clean up the room.

   The murdered singer was a chanteuse, if there can be such a thing with a band playing Music Out of Dixie. A magazine illustrator and a former musician, Hume, who had appeared in two earlier novels, joins the band at police request when the band’s saxophonist disappears.

   If I relate my problems with the plot, it will give away essential information. So I’ll just say there were no more Hamp Hume mysteries after this one, no loss to the world of fiction.

— Reprinted from MYSTERY READERS JOURNAL, Vol. 6, No. 1, Spring 1990, “Musical Mysteries.”

      The Hampton Hume series –

Death in Four Colors. Dodd Mead, 1950.

Never Wake a Dead Man. Dodd Mead, 1950.
Downbeat for a Dirge. Dodd Mead, 1952.

Note:   A fourth book by Brandon Bird, Hawk Watch (Dodd Mead, 1954), not in the Hume series, was reviewed earlier on this blog by Walter Albert. You can read his comments here, along with considerable biographical information about the authors: George Bird Evans, (1906-1998) & Kay Harris Evans, (1906-2007). Some discussion of a fifth book they wrote, The Pink Carrera (Dodd Mead, 1960), as by Harris Evans, is also included in Walter’s post.