William F. Deeck

WEED DICKINSON – Dead Man Talks Too Much. J. B. Lippincott, hardcover, 1937.

   “If you have a taste for the hard-boiled, after the manner of Dashiell Hammett or Jonathan Latimer, here is a first-class mystery with no punches pulled.” So says the publisher. The Hammett claim is a wild exaggeration, and there’s a mere soupçon of Latimer here, mainly in Circus Ed Haley’s drinking.

   Haley, publicity director for Amalgamated Pictures, seeking the missing — and slipping — movie star Maronne Martinez, discovers the body of the untalented and degenerate Donald Durline with Maronne’s dagger in its back. Immediately Hadley calls upon the spitball-shooting Burt Calhoun, New York private eye temporarily in Los Angeles.

   Dickinson’s only mystery once again proves that even a major publisher could go wrong in its choice of what to publish. The setting is all that is of interest here.

— Reprinted from MYSTERY READERS JOURNAL, Vol. 7, No. 4, Winter 1991/2, “Murder on Screen.”

Bio-Bibliographical Notes:   Besides this one-shot novel, (Ashley) Weed Dickinson (c.1890-1954), a long-time newspaperman, also wrote two stories for the detective pulp magazines:

       Five Men Take a Bath. Detective Fiction Weekly, Sep 2 1933.
       Dead Man Overboard. New Detective Magazine, May 1935.

   His wife was Nell Martin (1890–1961), who, according to Wikipedia, was a published writer under the pen name Columbia Boyer and her full name, Nell Columbia Boyer Martin. Her “Maisie” short stories were published in Top Notch Magazine in 1927-1928 and later inspired a movie and radio series starring Ann Sothern. She was at one time the lover of the mystery writer Dashiell Hammett and he dedicated his 1931 novel The Glass Key to her.