IT’S ABOUT CRIME, by Marvin Lachman


PATRICK QUENTIN – Puzzle for Puppets. Simon & Schuster, hardcover, 1944. Paperback reprints include: Pocket #420, 1946; Avon, 1980; International Polygonics Ltd (IPL), 1989. Filmed as Homicide for Three (Republic, 1948; with Warren Douglas & Audrey Long as Peter & Iris Duluth).

   [… Among the recent offerings from IPL is the] fast-paced and even more enjoyable Puzzle for Puppets by Patrick Quentin, my choice as the best book in the Peter Duluth series.

   Wartime San Francisco is portrayed vividly, especially its hills, cable cars, and Chinatown, as Naval Lieutenant (jg) Duluth’s plans for a romantic weekend leave with Iris, his actress wife, are constantly hindered by theft and murder.

   This intemtptus-based frustration leads to even stronger emotion when he is framed for the murder and must track down the guilty party if he wishes to stay out of jail, let alone spend time with Iris.


CHARLOTTE ARMSTRONG – A Little Less Than Kind. Coward-McCann, hardcover, 1963. Paperback reprints include: Ace Double G-540, no date [1965]; Berkley S2173, 1972; IPL, 1989.

   More serious, though no less readable, is Charlotte Armstrong’s A Little Less Than Kind (1963), about the attempt of a young man to prove that his new stepfather murdered his father.

   Perhaps Pasadena is an unusual setting for a modern working out of Hamlet, but in the expert hands of Armstrong, one of the great writers of domestic suspense, the reader’s attention and emotions are grabbed early in the book, and then it is almost impossible to put it down.

— Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier,
       Vol. 11, No. 4, Fall 1989 (slightly revised).

Editorial Comment:   My apologies for not being able to come up with images of either of the two IPL covers. I think the two I did locate should do almost as well, however.