LILLIAN BERGQUIST & IRVING MOORE – Your Shot, Darling! Morrow, hardcover, 1948. Graphic #84, paperback, 1954.

   I read Your Shot, Darling! just a few years ago; the same year, I think, when I joined DAPA-EM. Practically last week in the Scheme of Things. But when I noticed it on my shelf the other day, I couldn’t remember much about it: something about a gun-nut hero, murder, and denouement on a shooting range. Or was I recalling correctly? So I pulled it off the shelf and had another look.

   Well for starters, it’s heavy-duty stoopid: dumb cops, obvious killer, knuckle-head hero and dense heroine, abetted by a supporting cast that…

   “The bastards, going to all that trouble to welcome me home! Sure, I loved them too, the lousy bums!”

   These particular lousy bums keep coming on to the hero in true pulp fashion, dropping veiled hints of danger and promises to spill everything, then turning up dead in tried-and-tiresome fashion a few pages later, leaving our none-too-brilliant protagonist to puzzle things out, which he manages only after the authors have reached some predestined number of pages.

   But there comes a point where idiocy acquires a certain charm, and Your Shot, Darling! gets us there. Like a Keeler novel, this book reads relentlessly dumb and unpretentious, so much so that it gets to be fun after a while. I may not get back to it for another thirty years – or ever, for that matter. But I’m glad I rediscovered it.


Editor’s Note: This was the only mystery novel that either author wrote, either solo or tandem.