William F. Deeck

HELEN REILLY – Death Demands an Audience. Doubleday Crime Club, hardcover, 1940. Hardcover reprint: Sun Dial Press, 1941. Paperback reprints: Popular Library #7, no date [1943]; Macfadden, 1967; Manor, 1974.

HELEN REILLY Death Demands an Audience

   The paperback publisher [Macfadden] implies that this is a novel with some impossible or at least difficult crimes. “One victim was killed in a department store window. Another died before the startled eyes of a policeman on guard duty. The third breathed his last in a crowd of people coming out of a theater.”

   The first victim was killed in a department-store-window display, all right, but the display was in the cellar at the time of the crime and was raised with corpse later. The next victim had locked the policeman in a basement, so the cop certainly didn’t see him die. The third death had nothing to do with a theater crowd or any other crowd.

   Equally disappointing is the novel itself. The murderer is not only the least likely person but a most unlikely one. Inspector McKee traps the murderer by taking a picture as the fourth murder is attempted. He implies that he knew who it was all the time, but I don’t believe it. A fair mystery with a most unsatisfactory denouement.

— From The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 11, No. 4, Fall 1989.

Editorial Comments:   A long profile of Helen Reilly’s work by Mike Grost can be found on the main Mystery*File website. (Follow the link.) Accompanying Mike’s article is a detailed bibliography I put together for her.

   Previously reviewed (by me) on this blog:

The Canvas Dagger (1956) (very short)
The Silver Leopard (1946)