GARY MADDEROM – The Jewels That Got Away. Curtis 07311, paperback original, 1973.

   As a mystery or crime fiction writer, Gary Madderom has one other book listed in Al Hubin’s Crime Fiction IV, that one being The Four Chambered Villain, which was published in hardcover by Macmillan in 1971 before being reprinted in paperback, also by Curtis. According to an online obituary, he worked for a while for Warren Publishing, well known for putting out such magazines as Creepy, Eerie, Famous Monsters of Filmland, and Vampirella.

   The book at hand, which as usual for Curtis, fell apart as I read it, is the story of a jewel heist which, as usual, the plan for which unravels (falls apart) almost as soon as it’s put into motion. Even a second attempt fails, and that one even more so than the first.

   Coerced by financial circumstances (he has no money) and coaxed along by his cousin’s beautifully stacked secretary, would-be actor Rocco Agnello reluctantly lets Frank (reputedly connected with the Mafia) talk him into the plan. It is somewhat amazing that it takes 190 pages to tell the story, but to Madderom’s credit as a writer, it does so, and in a very self-assured fashion.

   One might wish for more depth in the characters as well, but one can’t have everything. Call this one average, no more.