CRAIG RICE – The Corpse Steps Out. John J. Malone, Jake Justus & Helene (Brand) Justus #2. Simon & Schuster, hardcover, 1940. Reprints include: Pocket #476, paperback, 1947. IPL, softcover, 1989. Rue Morgue Press, softcover, 2012.

   If I were to put together a list of detective mysteries that take place in or around radio stations, this would have to be included, and somewhere on top of the list. When radio star Nelle Brown gets into trouble with a blackmailer (and an ex-lover) and some letters he possesses, it is up to Jake Justus, her overworked press agent, to keep her image as squeaky clean as her adoring public thinks she is.

   Problem is, and it’s a big one, when Nelle goes to the blackmailer’s apartment to confront him, she finds him dead, and the letters nowhere to be found. More than that, when Jake goes to investigate, the body itself is nowhere to be found.

   There are two more murders before the book is done, and at least two of them, when eventually found, have been moved hither and yon, all for a good purpose, you understand. Aiding Jake in this madcap sequence of activities are Helen Brand, vivacious socialite — and rather wealthy, as I understand it — and Jake’s attorney, John J. Malone, who is often described as crooked, but while he may skirt the edges of legalities, I would not call him crooked, not on the basis of his actions in this book.

   It also may be that Jake and Helen will have managed to have gotten married by the time the next book in the series came around, but try as they may, they don’t seem to get to the altar in this one. Too many bodies disappearing and popping up again!

   This is a fun book to read all the way through, save perhaps the ending, when all of the strange events that have been happenings have to be sorted out and explained, including the naming of the killer. I also caution you that there is a lot of drinking that goes on in this book. Gin, mostly, but when the supply of gin runs out, rye will do, with beer as a chaser. Or is it the other way around?