A. A. MARCUS – Post-Mark Homicide. Graphic #67, 2nd printing, 1953. Previously published as The Widow Gay by David McKay, hardcover, 1948; and Graphic #21, paperback, 1950.

   The covers and the interiors for the two Graphic paperback editions of this book are the same. Only the titles are different. I can easily imagine that it was decided that the word “gay” was no longer usable in the meantime.

   Not that the widow Gay is gay. That’s her last name, and the way she carries on with PI Pete Hunter, that’s also proof enough that she isn’t. This was Hunter’s first recorded case, in which he’s hired by a political mover and shaker to find some letters his pet District Attorney unwisely wrote someone — to whom he will not say. Dead is the widow’s husband, the opposition’s power behind the scenes.

   As for Hunter as a leading character, before the war he was an accountant of some renown, but what happened to him while fighting during the fighting changed his outlook on life considerably. This may explain why he decides to work for one of two unsavory political elements in town, but unfortunately that’s an aspect of his behavior that’s not gotten into in any depth.

   Also unfortunately this is one of those mystery yarns that starts well, but begins to run out of steam about halfway through. There are flashes of good writing now and then, but nothing worth making a note of, nor is the ending anything to write home about. Overall: adequate but no more.

Bibliographic Notes: This was the first of three Pete Hunter novels; the other two were published as paperback originals by Graphic: Walk the Bloody Boulevard (1951) and Make Way for Murder (1955).

   As for the author, unlike A. A. Fair, A(rthur) A(aron?) Marcus (1904?-1996?) was apparently his real name.