William F. Deeck

WILSON TUCKER – The Man In My Grave. Rinehart & Co., hardcover, 1956. Hardcover reprint: Detective Book Club, 3-in-1 edition, February 1956. No paperback edition.

WILSON TUCKER The Man in My Grave

   It is to Rocky Knoll, Illinois, that Benjamin Gordon (Beejee) Brooks comes to check out the grave in which he is supposedly buried. The grave and the headstone are indeed extant, but he somehow feels he isn’t in the plot. After all, he argues, here he is above ground some twenty-five years after the alleged interment.

   The discovery of his premature burial was brought about by someone pointing out the epitaph in a printed collection of the wisest and wittiest. Besides the epitaph’s being inaccurate, Brooks claims it doesn’t scan, by which I think he means doesn’t rhyme.

   Still, it seems that Brooks has other graves — actually, the lack of them — in mind. For Brooks is a field representative of the Association of American Memorial Parks, and he and his organization believe that burking is rife in the area. As defined by Brooks, burking, named after the infamous William Burke, is the providing of cadavers to medical schools under suspicious circumstances, although murder does not necessarily play a role.

   An interesting detective in an unusual line and a somewhat frenetic investigation put this in the enjoyable entertainment class.

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

Bio-Bibliographic Notes:   While Tucker was the author of 14 novels in Al Hubin’s Crime Fiction IV, three are primarily science fiction novels, a field in which his reputation more fully lies. He became a SF fan in 1932 and won a Hugo for best Fan Writer in 1970. As a writer of science fiction, his novel The Year of the Quiet Sun was nominated for a Nebula, also in 1970.

   For more on Wilson “Bob” Tucker, his Wikipedia page is a good place to start.