RICHARD SALE “Chiller-Diller.” Daffy Dill #37. Short story. Detective Fiction Weekly, 24 June 1939. Reprinted in The Big Book of Female Detectives, edited by Otto Penzler (Black Lizard, 2018).

    Before he became well known in Hollywood circles as a writer, producer (Gentlemen Marry Brunettes) and director (Abandon Ship, Malaga, and so on), Richard Sale was a prolific writer of pulp fiction, with several hundred stories to his credit, including the long-running “Daffy” Dill series, beginning with “The Fifty Grand Brain” (Detective Fiction Weekly, 03 November 1934) and ending with “Death Flies High” (Flynn’s Detective Fiction, June 1943).

    “Chiller-Diller” is very much typical for the series, as breezy and fast-moving as you might expect a tale about a brash reporter for a New York City newspaper might be. The people in charge of the Chronicle have two stories going on at once: first the murder of a lady “cocktail” reporter for the rival Dispatchl and secondly the elopement of a young debutante with a notorious crooner slash hoodlum named Al Myers.

   Of course the two stories are connected, and it doesn’t take long for Daffy to find out how. The reason the tale is included in Otto Penzler’s The Big Book of Female Detectives is once again on the iffy side. Dinah Mason, the gossip columnist for the Chronicle and the love of Daffy’s life, is the one who found her rival’s body and is the one whose byline is on the story. She’s sent down to Florida for background information after that, however, and thereby essentially disappears from the story.