Fri 25 Mar 2011
William F. Deeck
SUTHERLAND SCOTT – Crazy Murder Show. Hillman-Curl, hardcover, 1937. pages. Mystery Novel of the Month #28, digest paperback reprint, 1941, as Murder on Stage. Originally published in the UK: Stanley Paul, hc, 1937.
During the Majestic Theatre’s presentation of “Crazy Week,” a vaudeville revue scheduled to last at least a month, impressionist Tamara Medina is foully murdered in her dressing room, with her body, but not her face, horribly scarred by acid.
It is Scotland Yard’s great luck that Septimus Dodds, M.D., consulting detective, and his confidante, Sandy Stacey, are spotted in the area and asked to come observe the investigation. Following the attack of appendicitis suffered by the detective in charge, the Yard asks
Dodds to take charge.
Which he does with signal success, only two more people being murdered.
While the plot is a good one, Scott has a tendency to overwrite just a tad. “One could almost see the army of red corpuscles, which had previously staged a disorderly retreat from his facial capillaries, flood back in a joyous stream, leaving the manager a flushed, perspiring, but reprieved mass of protoplasm.”
If that sort of thing doesn’t bother you and you don’t mind a detective who is given no personality by his creator, you will find this novel acceptable.
Editorial Comment: Of the twelve detective stories featuring Dr. Septimus Dodds as the primary detective, this is the only one to come out in the US. The first was published in 1936; the last to appear was in 1956. [A complete list of titles can be found in Comment #2.]