Sat 29 Jan 2011
William F. Deeck
BAYNARD H. KENDRICK – The Eleven of Diamonds. Greenberg, hardcover, 1936. Penguin #616, paperback, 1946.
Edward Fowler is found in the poker room of the Sunset Bridge Club with a knife in his back and the eleven of diamonds in his hand: Fowler was a gambler and a lover and a burglar, and he may have been other things besides.
Since the case is an unusual one, the police call upon Miles Standish Rice, the Hungry, for assistance. Rice is also hired by a rich man whose son, verging on the ne’er-do-well and a confirmed and not very talented gambler, owed Fowler a large gambling debt.
In this portrait of post-boom Florida, Rice eats a lot and often and puts his life in jeopardy on several occasions as he tries to figure out not only who killed Fowler but how he was killed.
While the characters are interesting, I was disappointed in not being able to find the spies promised by the paperback publisher. Though not as good as many of Kendrick’s novels featuring Duncan Maclain, there is sufficient action and cerebration to keep most readers entertained.
The Miles Standish Rice series —
The Iron Spiders. Greenberg, 1936.
The Eleven of Diamonds. Greenberg, 1936.
Death Beyond the Go-Thru. Doubleday, 1938.
NOTE: Deputy sheriff Miles Standish Rice also appeared in several novelettes and short stories, including “Headless Angel,” Black Mask, September 1939. See also Comments #2 and #3.