ELLERY QUEEN’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE April 1967. Overall rating: ***

JULIAN SYMONS “The Crimson Coach Murders.” Novelette. First published in The Evening Standard, 1960, as “The Summer Holiday Murders.” A detective story writer seeking background material takes a tour through southern England. Murder gives him a chance to try his abilities. (3)

ROBERT BLOCH “The Living Dead.” A World War II vampire story; not too imaginative. (2)

EDWARD D. HOCH “The Spy Who Came Out of the Night.” Rand of Double-C is sent to Berne to decode a message. His bitterness is forced to light. (3)

JACQUELINE CUTLIP “The Trouble of Murder.” A murderer burns down his inheritance unknowingly. Dry and confusing writing, but ending is good. (4)

CORNELL WOOLRICH “The Talking Eyes.” Novelette. First published in Dime Detective Magazine, September 1939, as “The Case of the Talking Eyes.” A paralyzed woman, able to communicate only wth her eyes, overhears her son’s wife plotting to kill him. Unable to stop the murder, she manages to avenge his death. Who else could attempt such a story? (4)

RHODA LYS STOREY “Sir Ordwey Views the Body.” Anagram-pastiche [by Norma Schier] of [Dorothy L. Sayers’] Lord Peter Wimsey. (1)

DOROTHY L. SAYERS “The Queen’s Square.” First appeared in The Radio Times, December 23, 1932. Lord Peter Wimsey solves a murder no one could have committed. A red costume in red light would appear white. (3)

JIM THOMPSON “Exactly What Happened.” Man disguised as another is killed by the other disguised as him. (1)

H. R. WAKEFIELD “The Voice of the Inner Ear.” First appeared in The Clock Strikes Twelve by H. Russell Wakefield, Herbert Jenkins, 1940, as “I Recognised the Voice.” A “psychic” detective solves mysteries. (2)

L. J. BEESTON “Melodramatic Interlude.” Revenge is thwarted by the victim’s wife. Obvious but still exciting. (3)

CHRISTOPHER ANVIL “ The Problem Solver and the Burned Letter.” Richard Verner reads a clue from a typewriter ribbon. (2)

LAWRENCE TREAT “P As in Payoff.” Mitch Taylor of Homicide Squad solves a hotel robbery as he tries to gain a favor. (3)

–January 1968

DIME MYSTERY MAGAZINE. May 1945. Cover by Gloria Stoll. Overall rating: *

BRUNO FISCHER “Deadlier Than the Male.” Novelette. A soldier’s buddy comes home from the war to check on his friend’s wife, who seems to have changed. Murder welcomes him at the door. Fairly obvious ending. (2)

TALMAGE POWELL “The Dark, Unfriendly Tide.” A man tries to dispose of a girl’s body in the bayou, but the elements betray him. Overly melodramatic. (3)

WILLIAM R. COX “They’ll Kill Me!” Novelette. Tom Kincaid has a murderous competition in his attempt to make a movie about gambling. Low grade Hollywood all the way. (0)

CYRIL PLUNKETT “Murder on the Wing.” A man obsessed with owls suspects his wife of poisoning him. (1)

FRANCIS K. ALLAN “The Man with the X-Ray Eyes.” Novel. Duke Danube saves a girl from involvement with murder in an opium den. Could have been put down at any time. (0)

JOHN PARKHILL [pseudonym of William R. Cox] “Slips That Pass in the Night.” An ex-Marine helps an explorer’s daughter regain two stolen rubies. (1)

JOE KENT [pseudonym of Francis K. Allan] “The Madman in the Moon.” Novelette. A soldier on furlough returns to his old neighborhood and is nearly framed for murder. A certain flavor of the wartime forties enhances this less-than-average story. (3)

DAY KEENE “A Corpse for Cinderella.” Novelette. Dancing skeletons, the kiss of death, and other “supernatural” happenings are exposed by a private detective. Had promise, but much too overdone. (1)

–January 1968

IF SCIENCE FICTION, March 1967. Editor: Frederik Pohl. “Special Hugo Winners Issue.” Cover: McKenna. Overall rating: ***

ISAAC ASIMOV “The Billiard Ball.” Novelette. A conflict between a theoretical physicist and a technician over the possibility of ant-gravity leads to the death of one. The Master has not lost his touch. (5)

HARLAN ELLISON “I Have No Mouth and I must Scream.” Four men and a woman, the last human survivors, are trapped within the underground vaults of a computer. (4)

ROGER ZELAZNY “The Mortal Mountain.” Novelette. A mountain forty miles high challenges the best climbing team in the business. Complications arise when “energy beings” threaten their ascent. Too much of an adventure story only, but is SF. Symbolism, climbing to stars? (3)

JOSEPH WESLEY “Moonshine.” A marine orderly on the moon brews his own. Story has been told many times before. (1)

LARRY NIVEN “Flatlander.” Novelette. Beowulf Schaeffer and perhaps the richest man on Earth look for adventure on the mysterious planet of a protosun. All the clues to its true nature are provided. Well done, except that the details of the previous series parts are beginning to bore. (4)

ROSCOE WRIGHT “The Sepia Springs Affair.” A strange bunch of aliens write letters to Pohl. I’d rather read the [real] letter column. (0)

ALGIS BUDRYS “The Iron Thorn.” Serial; part 3 of 4. See report following final installment.

BETSY CURTIS “Latter-Day Daniel.” A man with one arm feeds synthetic ones to lion. (1)

–January 1968

ANALOG SCIENCE FICTION March 1967. Editor: John W. Campbell. Cover art: John Schoenherr. Overall rating: 2½ stars.

HARRY HARRISON “The Time-Machined Saga.” Serial, part 1 of 3. [Reprinted in book form as The Technicolor® Time Machine (Doubleday, 1967).] Review of full novel to be posted later.

MACK REYNOLDS “Radical Center.” Novelette. A Pulitzer Prize winning reporter discovers that the flood of anti-heroism, anti-patriotism, and cynicism, the symptoms of which are present today, is part of a plot to take over the US by apathy. Again, SF is the platform for sounding off; some entertainment value. (3)

MICHAEL KARAGEORGE “In the Shadow.” Novelette. A physics story about a shadow world entering the solar system, giving investigating scientists a chance for freedom Mostly unreadable or incomprehensible. (0)

[UPDATE: I have just discovered that Michael Karageorge is one of several pen names used by Poul Anderson.]

CHRISTOPHER ANVIL “The Uninvited Guest.” Rrichard Verner, heuristician, feeds an alien onions. (2)

R. C. FitzPATRICK “The Compleat All-American.” Two federal investigators discover a truly indestructible football player. The loose prose intrudes a bit too often. (3)

–January 1968

ELLERY QUEEN’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE, March 1967.       Overall rating: **½

JAMES YAFFE “Mom and the Haunted Mink.” OK, if played a a game to trick the reader. But the police detective telling the story to his mother must certainly have recognized the name-switch at once. Pfui. (0)

AGATHA CHRISTIE “Miss Marple and the Golden Galleon.” Original title: “Ingots of Gold.” [The Royal Magazine, February 1928]. The theft of gold bullion is solved by knowing gardeners never work on Monday. (2)

DONALD E. WESTLAKE “The Sweetest Man in the World.” Another insurance company fraud, mixed with impersonation, embezzlement, and murder. (3)

CHARLOTTE PERKINS GILMAN “The Yellow Wallpaper.” [First appeared in New England Magazine, January 1892.] First published over 60 years ago; “a classic tale of horror.” A woman is driven insane by wallpaper. Not very effective. (2)

ELLERY QUEEN “The Adventure of Abraham Lincoln’s Clue.” [First appeared in MD, June 1965, as “Abraham Lincoln’s Clue.”] Items with the signatures of both Lincoln and Poe turn out to be forgeries, but the stamps are worth a fortune. (4)

RICHARD DEMING “The Jolly Jugglers, Retired.” Bank robbers take over restaurant. Obvious from beginning. (1)

JOSEPH MATHEWSON “A Stranger’s Tale.” The fresh wrinkle in this story of identical twins is the same old crease. (2)

HUGH PENTECOST “The Monster of Lakeview.” Uncle George’s dog is is stolen for laboratory and saved by a befriended man-child. (3)

MARGERY ALLINGHAM “Bubble Bath No. 3.” [First appeared in Argosy (UK), July 1956, as “Three Is a Lucky Number.”] Wife-killer is foiled in third attempt. (3)

FRANK SISK “The Strange Adventure of Charles Homer.” The estate Surcease Isle becomes Circe’s Isle, but Homer escapes. A weird fantasy. (3)

CHARLES DICKENS “The Pair of Gloves.” [First appeared in Household Words, September 14 1850, uncredited.] Primitive police procedure; gloves have nothing to do with murder. Of historical interest only. (0)

PRINCESS ZAWADSKY “Third Act Curtain.” An actor masquerades as a notorious killer. (3)

JOAN KAPP “Mystery, Movie Style.” A lady jewel thief scares off two others. A fun story. [The author’s only published crime story.] (5)

GEORGES SIMENON “Inspector Maigret Directs.” [First appeared in English in Argosy (UK) November 1961, as “Under the Hammer.”] Maigret puts all the characters in a murder-drama through their paces continuously until the culprit is revealed. ( 4)

WILLIAM BRITTAIN “Mr. Strang Gives a Lecture.” A high school clears a student framed for robbery. Not a very promising series start. (2)

– January 1968

(Give Me That) OLD-TIME DETECTION. Autumn 2021/Winter 2022. Issue #58. Editor: Arthur Vidro. Old-Time Detection Special Interest Group of American Mensa, Ltd. 36 pages (including covers). Cover image: A Rumpole Christmas.

   This issue of Old-Time Detection continues to maintain the usual high standards for the publication, being replete with perceptive book reviews and features that would be of interest to any mystery fan.

   “Mystery Reviews” by Jon L. Breen has Breen, one of the sharpest detective fiction critics, finding R. D. Rosen’s Strike Three, You’re Dead a most agreeable mix of baseball and amateur detection — “may be,” he says, “the ultimate sports mystery.” For fans of Wall Street mysteries, there’s a “more-than-adequate British equivalent” in David Williams’ Advertise for Treasure.

   In “The Paperback Revolution,” Charles Shibuk covers a lot of classic detective fiction ground with short but pithy assessments of some of the works of Eric Ambler (Journey Into Fear, 1940), Leslie Charteris (The Saint in New York, 1935), Agatha Christie (The Moving Finger, 1942), Joseph Harrington (Blind Spot, 1966, and The Last Doorbell, 1969), Baynard Kendrick (Out of Control, 1945), Ross Macdonald (The Underground Man, 1971), Ngaio Marsh (Overture to Death, 1939), Ellery Queen (There Was an Old Woman, 1943, and Calamity Town, 1942), Dorothy L. Sayers (Murder Must Advertise, 1933), and Rex Stout (The League of Frightened Men, 1935, and The Rubber Band, 1936).

   Dan Magnuson offers us his tribute to the late J. Randolph Cox, not only a close friend but also a Nick Carter expert, and, among other good things, the author of books about Walter Gibson and Flashgun Casey.

   A fine addition to the issue is an “Author Spotlight” by Michael Dirda focusing on Edmund Crispin, more often than not one of the most delightful detective fiction authors of the Golden Age. You’re not likely to find a more comprehensive yet concise essay on Crispin than this one.

   In the “Christie Corner” by Dr. John Curran, the foremost living expert on the works of Agatha Christie, comes news of the publication of a non-Christie book (The Invisible Host, 1930), the plot of which some would say Agatha “borrowed” for And Then There Were None (1939); Curran, however, is more than a little skeptical and offers good reasons for his doubts. Since 2022 marks the 90th anniversary of The Thirteen Problems (USA title: The Tuesday Club Murders), a publisher has decided to “re-imagine” Miss Marple, even commissioning some non-crime writers to do the bloody deed — I mean, give us their interpretations of the character. Curran finishes by briefly noting a computer game featuring Hercule Poirot and yet another scrambled up short story collection “culled from throughout Christie’s career.”

   This issue’s fiction selection is T. S. Stribling’s “The Mystery of the Choir Boy” (EQMM, January 1951), in which Dr. Poggioli gets involved in a scheme meant to hoodwink the public but which culminates in murder.

   “‘Count the Man Down,’ A Nero Wolfe Pilot” by Bruce Dettman illumines the experimentation that Hollywood in the ’50s was performing in adapting well-known — meaning “hopefully it’ll make money since everybody’s heard of it” — quantities to the small screen. Inspired by the huge success of Perry Mason, the producers tried  — and failed — to bring Rex Stout’s famous detective and his “assistant” to life (“pretty much a botched effort”). Only the actor playing Archie gets a thumbs up from Dettman, a rookie thespian who in a few years would become a TV icon.

   “The Life and Death and Life of Sherlock Holmes” by Richard Lederer compactly outlines the career of the Sage of Baker Street and the adience-abience dilemma that confronted his literary creator.

   Then come more in-depth book reviews of John Mortimer’s A Rumpole Christmas (2009), reviewed by Ruth Ordivar, a collection of five stories whose “quality more than makes up for the thin quantity”; Anthony Berkeley’s Murder in the Basement (1932), reviewed by Harv Tudorri, in which Roger Sheringham seeks “to get to the bottom of a problem and to prove it to my own satisfaction”; Agatha Christie’s Crooked House (1949), reviewed by Sheila M. Barrett, a story whose “elements are laid forth as the reader might expect from Christie’s expert hand”; Jon L. Breen’s Listen for the Click (1983), reviewed by Arthur Vidro, a sports/mystery novel that works just right; and Christie’s Murder in the Mews (1937), reviewed by Trudi Harrov, containing four stories that collectively manage to “hit the spot.”

   “The Non-Fiction World of Ed Hoch” has the all-time master of the short detective story “Seeking the First Mystery Magazine,” from possible candidates like Old Cap. Collier Library and voluminous Nick Carter publications in the late 19th century through Detective Story and Mystery Magazine and, of course, Black Mask in the early years of the 20th century. As Hoch tells us, however, designating what was actually the first mystery magazine could come down to a matter of categorization.

   “The Readers Write”: “Thanks for continuing to do this labor of love for all of us who enjoy the Good Old Days!”

   . . . and finally there’s the Puzzle Page—and it’s a doozy.

   If you’d like to subscribe to Old-Time Detection:

Published three times a year: spring, summer, and autumn. – Sample copy: $6.00 in U.S.; $10.00 anywhere else. – One-year U.S.: $18.00 ($15.00 for Mensans). – One-year overseas: $40.00 (or 25 pounds sterling or 30 euros). – Payment: Checks payable to Arthur Vidro, or cash from any nation, or U.S. postage stamps or PayPal. – Mailing address: Arthur Vidro, editor, Old-Time Detection, 2 Ellery Street, Claremont, New Hampshire 03743.

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ANALOG SCIENCE FICTION February 1967. Cover by Kelly Freas. Editor: John W. Campbell. Overall rating: 3 stars.

JOE POYER “Pioneer Trip.” The completion of the first manned flight to Mars must be weighed against a man’s life. Interesting problem, but conventional ending. (3)

JACK WODHAMS “There Is a Crooked Man.” Short novel. We are rapidly approaching the point where science and engineering can easily enable the criminal mind to outwit the law, if the particular law does indeed exist. Law enforcement becomes a hilarious problem, as Thorne Smith becomes SF, not fantasy. Not Analog’s usual stuff. (4)

J. B. MITCHEL “The Returning.” Alien takes over experimental US rocket to return home. (2)    [His only published SF story.]

MACK REYNOLDS “Amazon Planet.” Serial, part 3 of 3. Separate report forthcoming.

WINSTON P. SANDERS [POUL ANDERSON] “Elementary Mistake.” Crew sent to establish mattereaster [?] on a distant planet discovers they haven’t the necessary elements available. Too technical to make sense. (1)

–November 1967

ELLERY QUEEN’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE – February 1967. Overall rating: 3½ stars.

STANLEY ELLIN “The Twelfth Statue.” Short novel. A movie producer noted for his quickie productions and his weakness for young girls disappears from his closed-off Italian movie set. The location of his body seems to be obvious halfway through, but Ellin still has some twists left, in addition to masterful background. (5)

JANE SPEED “Fair’s Fair.” A child’s view of murder, that of a man who killed a cat. (4)

CHARLES B. CHILD “A Quality of Mercy. Reprinted from Collier’s, 11 March 1950. Inspector Chafik solves the murder of a blackmailer, but destroys the incriminating etter. Excellent background an characterization. (4)

ROBERT L. FISH “The Adventure of the Perforated Ulster.” Schlock Homes breaks up a plot by a trading stamp company to destroy confidence in British clubs. Hilarious. (5)

JUDITH O’NEILL “The Identification.” First story. Woman betrays rebel organizer. Awkward beginning. (2)

R. BRETNOR “Specimen of the Week.” Anthropological species turns on guardian.. (1)

S. K. SNEDEGAR “Charles H. Goren Solves a Bridge Murder.” Too bad I don’t know anything about bridge, but story was poor anyway. (0)

VINCENT McCONNOR “The Man Who Collected Obits.” Man who works in a newspaper morgue discovers weird coincidence in the daily obituaries. (3)

PATRICIA HIGHSMITH “Camera Fiend.” Reprinted from Cosmopolitan, September 1960, as “Camera Finish.” A not-so-bright murderer allows his picture to be taken with his victim. (3)

ARTHUR PORGES “The Scientist and the Multiple Murder.” Eight men are electrocuted in s rooftop pool. Seems contrived. (3)

MARGERY SHARP “Driving Home.” Reprinted from Good Housekeeping, August 1956. Man needs wife’s alibi and thus saves their marriage. Too much soppy writing. (2)

LAWRENCE TREAT “F As in Frame-Up.” A spendthrift husband is framed for murder involving theft of necklace. Lieutenant Decker’s hunch plays off. (4)

-November 1967


(Give Me That) OLD-TIME DETECTION. Summer 2021. Issue #57. Editor: Arthur Vidro. Old-Time Detection Special Interest Group of American Mensa, Ltd. 36 pages (including covers). Cover image: Dust jacket of The Bellamy Trial (1927).

   With this issue of Old-Time Detection we get some fine essays on detective fiction’s Golden Age, as well as book reviews, and a piece of fiction that subverts your expectations long before that became a thing.

   Martin Edwards kicks things off with his assessment of why there’s been a renewed interest in old-time mysteries with his essay, “The Golden Age Detective Fiction Renaissance”; you’ll either be confirmed in your opinions or surprised at his conclusions.

   Michael Dirda adds his voice to Edwards’s in a piece which explains his reasoning as to why our favorite field of literature is, despite dire predictions of its demise to the contrary, still quite popular with the reading public; the title tells all: “Mysteries Provide Escapism.” To support his thesis, Dirda takes us for an interesting side trip into Japanese honkaku fiction.

   Charles Shibuk’s “Paperback Revolution” installment covers soft cover reprints from the early ’70s of not only such detective fiction stalwarts as Chandler, Christie, Gruber, Kendrick, MacDonald, Marsh, EQ, and Sayers, but also less prolific practitioner Ed Lacy, as well as thriller writer and Hollywood fave Walter Wager, who, in contrast, seemed at the time to be a ubiquitous fixture on spinner racks throughout the nation.

   Then comes Jack Ritchie’s ingenious story, “The Absence of Emily” (1981), which shows us how to commit murder for fun and profit — but especially profit.

   Next is Jon L. Breen’s account (“The Mystery of Craig Rice”) of the sad life and times of screwball mystery writer Craig Rice, who was already on a one-way decline due to drug abuse almost at the same moment her popularity was peaking.

   A companion piece to Breen’s is Arthur Vidro’s “Stu Palmer’s and Craig Rice’s Withers/Malone Team-Ups,” nicely detailing the six stories that appeared in EQMM (1950, 1951, 1954, 1955, 1959, and 1963). Vidro shows how from correspondence between Palmer and Fred Dannay you can only conclude that Palmer did most of the heavy lifting, turning out stories with only minimal input at best from Rice.

   Edward D. Hoch next explains why, if you ever win an MWA award, it’s good advice to “Never Wash an Edgar.”

   Book reviews abound: Charles Shibuk on Raymond Goldman’s The Murder of Harvey Blake (1931), Douglas G. Greene about John Dickson Carr’s The Problem of the Wire Cage (1939), Harv Tudorri on Erle Stanley Gardner’s The D.A. Calls It Murder (1937), Ruth Ordivar about Agatha Christie’s N or M? (1941), Kathleen Riley on Ngaio Marsh’s Final Curtain (1947), and Arthur Vidro about one of the Haycraft-Queen Cornerstones, Frances Noyes Hart’s The Bellamy Trial (1927), a largely forgotten classic.

   Finally come readers’ reactions and a mystery puzzle that truly is a challenge to the reader.

   You can find a review of the previous issue of OTD here.

   If you’d like to subscribe to Old-Time Detection:

Published three times a year: spring, summer, and autumn. – Sample copy: $6.00 in U.S.; $10.00 anywhere else. – One-year U.S.: $18.00 ($15.00 for Mensans). – One-year overseas: $40.00 (or 25 pounds sterling or 30 euros). – Payment: Checks payable to Arthur Vidro, or cash from any nation, or U.S. postage stamps or PayPal. – Mailing address: Arthur Vidro, editor, Old-Time Detection, 2 Ellery Street, Claremont, New Hampshire 03743.

Web address:

ANALOG SCIENCE FICTION. January 1967.  Cover by Chesley Bonestell.     Overall rating: 3½ stars.

POUL ANDERSON “Supernova.” Short novel. An inhabited planet is found to be in danger from a nearby supernova, and the Polesotechnic League sends the Trader Team headed by David Falkayn. In exchange for technology capable of saving their world, the Meresians are asked for a base for scientific study and, of course, a chance for profit. Politics follow. Mostly bland. (3)

HARRY HARRISON “A Criminal Act.” Having too many children may someday be a crime against society. [The penalty may be] legalized murder as the answer to the extra life created. (4)

MACK REYNOLDS “Amazon Planet.” Serial, part 2 of 3. See report to follow later.

H. B. FYFE “The Old Shill Game.” Robots shills are programmed to buy from robot vendors to increase sales. (3)

KEITH LAUMER “The Lost Command.” [Bolo #3.] A construction crew accidentally activates a semi-intelligent war-machine buried deep underground after the end of a war ended 70 years before. (4)

-October 1967

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