THE BACKWARD REVIEWER
William F. Deeck


RICHARD SALE – Benefit Performance. Simon & Schuster, hardcover, 1946. Detective Book Club, hardcover reprint, 3-in-1 edition. Dell #252, paperback, mapback edition.

   Having finished his most recent motion picture, movie star Kerry Garth just wants to get away from everything. But someone shoots and kills his stand-in, Joshua Barnes, who attended the movie premiere as Garth. Since no one except Garth’s trusted public-relations man knew of the substitution, the killer had to be after Garth, not Barnes.

   With the advice of his PR man, Garth assumes Barnes’s identity. Unfortunately, Garth discovers that Barnes is a despicable character who is also in danger of his life, assuming he still had it. From the frying pan, as it were.

   Any author who invents — I hope he was the one responsible and the only one to use it — the portmanteau abomination “sluefoot” for detective cannot be highly praised by the reader. Still, I did enjoy the novel more than its quality warranted. Garth’s impersonation of Barnes makes for good reading.

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