January 2008

by Francis M. Nevins

   Since last July she had been in medical facilities near her home on the Jersey shore. Even after a tracheotomy she could never get back to breathing normally. She couldn’t speak and had to be tube-fed for months. Then she improved and was moved from the ICU to a rehab center but at best she could say only a few words.


   I spoke with her on Thanksgiving and her birthday and Christmas. I went to the east coast at the beginning of January and was to have seen her on the 6th but she had a major relapse on the night of New Year’s Day and almost died. Then she improved again and I arranged to visit her three days later, on the 9th. She had another relapse on the evening of the 8th and from then on she was out of it.

   She died three days later. What hideous timing: I never got to say goodbye to her.

   She was the first love of my life. I met her when JFK was in the White House and was separated from her for almost thirty years — my fault, I fear — and during that endless hiatus before we got together again (a story too complex to be told here) she became the model for the doomed Lucy in my first novel.

   Paging through Publish and Perish the other day, I was shaken by how many passages written more than 35 years ago capture how I thought and felt about her. Perhaps the last line says it best. “He knew that she would come to life as a sudden stab of loss within him, whenever he saw the gleam of starlight on dark water.”


   Death never rains but it pours. She died on Saturday, January 12. A few days later, on the morning of Thursday the 17th, I lost one of her favorite authors and one of my closest friends in the mystery-writing community.

   Ed Hoch’s death was the sort we wish for ourselves and those we care about, instant, without pain. He got up and went to take a shower and his wife heard a thump from the bathroom and he was already gone, apparently a massive heart attack.

   He would have been 78 next month. His ambition was to write 1000 short stories but he died something like 50 short of that goal.

   I first met him in the late Sixties, a year or two after he had left his advertising job to write full time. Over the decades we corresponded endlessly, appeared on panels together, did things for each other. I edited two collections of his short stories, recommended him for Guest of Honor at the Pulpcon the year after I had that slot (he should of course have been asked long before I was), gave him my extra copy of Fred Dannay’s all but impossible to find autobiographical novel The Golden Summer (1953, as by Daniel Nathan).

   The morning after each year’s MWA dinner, I’d have breakfast with Ed and Pat at the Essex House on Central Park South, where they habitually stayed on their frequent visits to town, and we would talk the morning away. All the things he did for me would fill a book even if one didn’t mention the countless hours of reading pleasure his stories gave me.

Edward D. Hoch

   He was such a kind man, so generously giving of himself to so many others, so modest and tolerant and thoughtful. It was typical of him that when an interviewer wanted to describe him as a devout Catholic, Ed said it would be presumptuous to apply that adjective to himself and that he preferred “observant,” a word generally associated with the Jewish tradition.

   If there was anyone remotely like him in the genre, it was Anthony Boucher. Both men loved and were immensely knowledgeable about mystery fiction, both wrote far more short stories than they did novels, both edited superb anthologies of short fiction in their genre, both combined deep religious feeling with total openness of mind and heart and deep respect and appreciation for those of another faith or none.

   Ed was the polar opposite of a stereotypical Type A personality. He never seemed harried or rushed, never lost his temper, always had time for others’ concerns and yet never fell behind schedule with his own work.

   His ability to devise mystery plots was astonishing. Where did they come from? Wide and constant reading — almost anything he came across in a novel or story or nonfiction book might become a springboard for him—coupled with a mind like no other.

   About twenty years ago we attended a cocktail party at a New York publisher’s office whose roof garden offered a fine view of the then new Marriott Marquis hotel with its glass-walled elevator traveling nonstop up and down the side of the building from top floor to street and back again. “What if someone was seen entering that elevator,” I asked Ed idly, “and wasn’t there when it stopped at the other end?”

   Almost anyone could come up with a wild premise like that. Ed made it work, made one of his neatest impossible crime stories out of it, and thanked me by naming one of its minor characters Nevins.

   He’s gone now. The genre he loved and to which he contributed so much will never again see anyone like him. But maybe in a sense he’s still with us. There’s a Jewish saying that you haven’t really died until the death of the last person with fond living memories of you.

   In that sense Ed Hoch will live for generations as his finest stories will.


CRACK-UP. RKO Radio, 1946. Pat O’Brien, Claire Trevor, Herbert Marshall, Ray Collins, Wallace Ford, Mary Ware. Director: Irving Reis. Based on “Madman’s Holiday,” a long novelette by Fredric Brown.

   I’ve not read “Madman’s Holiday,” but I do have the July 1943 issue of Detective Story Magazine, where it first appeared. Later on it was paired with “The Song of the Dead” in the Dennis McMillan hardcover collection of the same title, Madman’s Holiday (1985).

   As a director, Irving Reis is best known in some circles (such as this one) for several of the early Falcon movies, but in terms of a well-paced and well-told black-and-white thriller, he seems to have lost his touch with this film, his first after the war, following Hitler’s Children in 1943.

   Pat O’Brien plays George Steele, a museum spokesman about to be fired for daring to bring fine art down to the level of ordinary people, much to the dismay of museum’s board of directors. That doesn’t seem to be offense enough for him to fall into the malicious plot that follows, in which a train wreck that he was in apparently (he is told) never happened.

   Only his girl friend Terry Cordell (Claire Trevor, and even more beautiful and blonde than ever) believes his story after Steele, suffering from either the aftereffects of the accident or a wartime psychosis, smashes his way into the museum at night, assaulting a policeman in the process.

Crack-Up: OBrien - Trevor

   A very noirish, nightmarish opening that promises a fine tale in the offing, but alas! the fine tale never materializes. Steele is also an expert in art forgery, and what the tale boils down to is simply that, a gang of deadly art forgers whose dastardly doings are neither (double alas!) very interesting nor wholly explained. Everybody speaks in a calm, soft-spoken and unexcited manner, including the mysterious Traybin, played by the never flappable Herbert Marshall, and his non-exertion is contagious.

   Rather than a noir film, and regarded highly as such in some quarters, as I’ve discovered, I was reminded more often of those old spooky house pictures made in the 1930s, with much standing around (when it comes down to it) and little of consequence on the screen.

   A hodge-podge of this and that, in other words, and in two words, very disappointing. [You may follow the link in the paragraph above, however, for a diametrically opposed opinion.]

CHARLES TODD – A False Mirror. Harper; paperback reprint, January 2008. Harper hardcover edition, January 2007.

   Some facts first, some of which you probably know already, but if so, please bear with me. Or not, if you prefer, if your interest in mystery fiction consists more often of espionage thrillers, comic heists and/or high grade private eye dramas, none of which applies here.

Charles Todd: Test of Wills

   According to Crime Fiction IV, by Allen J. Hubin, “Charles Todd” is the joint pen name of the (I believe) unique mother-and-son writing team of David Charles Todd Watjen & Carolyn L. T. Watjen. A Test of Wills, their first mystery novel, was also the first case solved by Inspector Ian Rutledge of Scotland Yard. The book appeared in 1996, and they’ve averaged close to a novel a year ever since. A False Mirror is their 10th, and Rutledge has appeared in all but one of them, a standalone entitled The Murder Stone.

   From here it gets complicated. As a survivor of World War I (as yet unnumbered in 1919 and the 1920s, when the stories take place), Rutledge carries bitter memories of the conflict wherever he goes. In particular, in his head he hears the voice of Hamish MacLeod, a young Scottish soldier he had executed for refusing to obey orders during the worst of the war. The irony is that Rutledge now knows that given one more day of battle and the bloody onslaught, he would have refused orders to keep fighting on as well.

   Such is the background if not the underlying theme, and for folks like me, who pick up the ninth one as the first one, it takes some time for the explanation to be worked into the opening pages without disrupting the flow of the new tale being told. Hamish acts not only as a nagging conscience, but also as a Watson upon whom Rutledge tests his thoughts and observations, except that this particular (and antagonistic) Watson is not at all interested in telling the tale himself.

   It’s an interesting concept, and the Todds’ books have attracted a lot of attention, including mine, although until now only in terms of curiosity, having not picked one up to read until now. My first reaction: This is a dark and gloomy tale filled with sharply drawn characterizations.

Charles Todd - False Mirror

   In the small coastal town of Hampton Regis, a man Rutledge knew not well (and not favorably) in France has taken a woman as a hostage in her home, and he refuses to budge until Rutledge arrives. The man is believed to have attacked the woman’s husband, once of the Foreign Service, and left him near death on the shore.

   Rutledge arrives, and my second reaction is this: Very few detective stories can withstand the weight of nearly 400 pages of small print. Rutledge seems to do a lot, but very little gets done; and what seems as though should have been done as standard procedure seems to get little thought. Such as (primarily) the failure to keep a guard over the badly wounded victim, who disappears into the night soon after he begins to gain consciousness, leaving the doctor’s wife bludgeoned to death.

   The ending – the revelation of the killer’s identity – is equally mismanaged – not badly, but without the sureness (and brilliance) that one expects (and hopes for!) after several nights of intense reading just before bed. (It took me around eight installments averaging fifty pages each.)

   To be more precise, the tale is not strong on fair play detection, although the opportunity’s there. It could have been done. Toward the end an accusing finger is pointed at each of the possible killers in turn, but to do this well, an expert is needed. When the strings trailing from the authors’ hands begin to show, that’s when you’ll know the authors aren’t that kind of expert yet. (Or at least, not this time.)

   On the other hand, I wouldn’t have kept reading if the authors who write as Charles Todd didn’t know people, and knew how to make them come alive, as often in anguish (mental) as they are. Noir? You bet. All the way.

THE WRONG BOX. Salamander Film Corp., UK, 1966. Michael Caine, Nanette Newman, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Ralph Richardson, John Mills, Peter Sellers, Wilfred Lawson, Tony Hancock. Director-producer: Brian Forbes. Based on the book by Robert Louis Stevenson & Lloyd Osbourne. [Osbourne was Stevenson’s stepson.]

The Wrong Box    When I was a kid and growing up, I read a lot of Robert Louis Stevenson’s work, as did a lot of kids my age, but I never read The Wrong Box, nor have I rectified that omission any time since. It was published in 1889, which would have made it a contemporary novel instead the period piece it obviously was in 1966.

   So I don’t know, and I’d obviously be guessing, but I imagine that a number of liberties were made to the story — or on the other hand, perhaps not, as the book is described in many places as a “black comedy.” You may or may not recognize the names of some of the players, but on the other hand, you may very well know them better than I do. These are some of the finest British comedians of their era, and there are some who believe that The Wrong Box is the funniest British comedy ever made.

   Personally, I don’t know about that, but sitting here at the computer and typing this off the top of my head, there are some parts here that remember laughing at out loud when I was watching and (this is strange) are even funnier as I think about them now.

   And I’ll get to some of those in a moment. First, though, something about the story. I guess they’re not very common now, but the main item of business that makes the story and keeps it going is a tontine, a legal agreement between a group of individuals that provides for a common total contribution to be bestowed into the hands of the single survivor.

   There’s obviously a lot of material involved in one of these things to power any number of crime stories, which is what allows this movie to be called a mystery movie, but truth be told, looking back in retrospect, there really wasn’t a lot of mystery, nor crime involved.

The Wrong Box    Two brothers are the last two survivors in this case, and they have not spoken to each other in over 40 years. Michael Caine is the shy grandson of one; gloriously beautiful Nanette Newman is the niece of the other; and they have admired each other from afar (and through windows) for many years. (The two families live next to each other in attached homes.) One glimpse of Caine’s bare upper arm is enough for the lady to fall solidly in fluttering love.

   There is a mixup between boxes, naturally enough, one containing a body, the other a statuary being returned. There are attempts at murder, funeral carriages galore, fudged death certificates…

   Morris Finsbury [Peter Cook]: I was wondering — do you by any chance happen to have any — uh — death certificates?

   Doctor Pratt [Peter Sellers]: Do I happen to have any death certificates? What a monstrous thing, sir — what a monstrous thing to say to a member of the medical profession! Do you realize the enormity of what you have just said?

   Morris Finsbury: Yes. Do you have any death certificates?

   Doctor Pratt: How many do you want?

… decrepit old butlers, cheerfully loquacious elderly gentlemen who can speak hours on end on almost anything:

   From the book itself, which is online at http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/gutbook/lookup?num=1585, and repeated very closely in the film:

    ‘I am not a prejudiced man,’ continued Joseph Finsbury [Ralph Richardson]. ‘As a young man I travelled much. Nothing was too small or too obscure for me to acquire. At sea I studied seamanship, learned the complicated knots employed by mariners, and acquired the technical terms. At Naples, I would learn the art of making macaroni; at Nice, the principles of making candied fruit. I never went to the opera without first buying the book of the piece, and making myself acquainted with the principal airs by picking them out on the piano with one finger.’

    ‘You must have seen a deal, sir,’ remarked the carrier, touching up his horse; ‘I wish I could have had your advantages.’

    ‘Do you know how often the word whip occurs in the Old Testament?’ continued the old gentleman. ‘One hundred and (if I remember exactly) forty-seven times.’

    ‘Do it indeed, sir?’ said Mr Chandler. ‘I never should have thought it.’

The Wrong Box

   I thought the movie was wonderfully rendered for the first hour and 15 minutes, plus or minus five, but by the end the pace had quickened significantly, and I confess that I had become lost with what body was there, who was dead and who was not. I shall have to watch it again; there’s no way around it.

   I do recommend the film to present-day writers and directors who believe that a film cannot be funny without flatulence, bowel movements, lousy language, nor more than a look at a lady’s ankle. None of those here, and all to the better. (I confess that there is one significant scene of nose-picking.)

   And any movie with Nanette Newman in it is worth seeing more than once, no matter the genre nor who else is in it.

   The paperbacks in my collection are usually in better shape than this one, but for some reason, this is the best I have of this early Bantam edition. The artist is not identified, nor does Graham Holroyd’s price guide offer any assistance. If the cover’s a little dark to make out the details, opposite the title page there’s a small blurb that describes the scene that the cover’s a snapshot view of.

   But I think that one glance at the cover and the would-be buyer is going to know exactly what kind of book he’s going to be getting, early 1950s style. If not, then the blurb on the back cover is intended to be the clincher.

John Evans: Halo for Satan

BANTAM #800. Paperback reprint; 1st printing, July 1950. Hardcover edition: Bobbs-Merrill, August 1948. Series character: private eye Paul Pine. Object of interest: a manuscript written by Jesus Christ.

            About the cover:

    I got a shoulder under my eyelids and shoved hard… Pain gnawed at the back of my head like rats in a granary.

    She helped me into a sitting position and I sat there and stared… It was a face to bring hermits down out of the hills, to fill divorce courts, to make old men read up on hormones.

    “How do you feel, Mr. Pine?”

    “Adequate,” I said. “…Were you the one that sapped me?”

             From the back cover:


    “Find Wirtz,” the Bishop said. “Find him, Mr. Pine.”

    “With a build-up like that,” I said, “any amount under a million is going to sound mighty puny.”

    He turned his head…. “But a million dollars was not the price, Mr. Pine… The amount he asks is twenty-five million dollars!”

   So the hunt begins, a tough, brutal game with a trigger-happy blonde, a sexy redhead and a dying half-crazed murder czar with a fabulous story and an even more fabulous scheme.

REPEAT PERFORMANCE. Eagle-Lion Films, 1947. Louis Hayward, Joan Leslie, Virginia Field, Tom Conway, Richard Basehart, Natalie Schafer, Benay Venuta. Director: Alfred L. Werker; based on the mystery novel of the same title by William O’Farrell.

   William O’Farrell wrote 13 or so crime novels between 1942 and 1962. Toward the end of his career he wrote paperback originals (Dell, Gold Medal, Lancer), but the first one he wrote was Repeat Performance, a hardcover from Houghton Mifflin in 1942. His next book didn’t come out until after the war, in 1948.

   As sometimes happens, it’s the first book that attracts the most attention, and so it was with this book. It was the only one of O’Farrell’s novels that was made into a movie until 1987, when a French company made Dernier été à Tanger, based on The Devil His Due (Doubleday, 1955). O’Farrell does have a handful of TV credits, according to IMDB: Perry Mason, Alfred Hitchcock, and so on, and a TV remake was made of Repeat Performance in 1989, a film entitled Turn Back the Clock, with Connie Sellecca in the leading role.

Joan Leslie   In 1947, it was Joan Leslie who was the star, one of a number of leading roles she had for smaller companies like Eagle-Lion, and her career lasted long enough, thanks to television, for her to be given a walk-on role in the remake as a guest at a party. She was full-faced and very pretty without quite being beautiful, but then again your opinion need not necessarily be the same as mine.

   The beginning and end of Repeat Performance is dark and stylish enough for it to be considered in many quarters as a noir film, but without the beginning and end, it is frothy and soap opera-y and very nearly not a crime film at all. It begins with Sheila Paige (Joan Leslie) shooting a man in a Manhattan apartment on New Year’s Eve, then fleeing the scene of the crime through streets crowded and filled with merry-makers.

   The man, as it turns out, was her husband Barney, a failed and now-alcoholic playwright played by Louis Hayward. We don’t know any of the details right away, only that Sheila is frightened and needs help. And on the brink of the New Year, her wish to live the year over again, and to make things come out right, is granted.

   A nice fantasy touch. She remembers the year before, but no one else does, except (gradually) poet William Williams (Richard Basehart, in his first film), a tragically weak creature with hints of self-esteem. Sheila’s husband is not only a lush, but a louse and a womanizer, the woman in this case being an ultra- glamorous British playwright named Paula Costello (Virginia Field).

Repeat Performance

   Can Sheila live the year over again and make the outcome turn out differently? Can she keep her husband away from Paula by shuffling him off to California? Can she convince William that having Mrs. Shaw (Natalie Schafer) as a patroness, and a controlling one at that, is not likely to be in his best interest?

   You’ll have to watch and see. The fantasy elements give the movie a premise, but otherwise they are not followed up on. The crime element is shoved to the background. It’s always there, mind you, as you watch Sheila relive her life, with differences, but as I say, trim five minutes from both the beginning and the end, and you don’t have a mystery movie at all. And probably not much a story, either, so no, don’t trim it … a mystery film it is.

   Is it noir? Yes, if one aspect of noir films is seeing lives swirl and careen out of control, and another is a dark beginning and (hints are) a dark ending. No, if noir does not involve froth and soap flakes, which too much of this one does.

Repeat Performance

[UPDATE.] 01-22-08. For those of you conveniently located near San Francisco, Repeat Performance will be the lead-off attraction for this year’s Noir City film festival. Date: Friday, January 25th. Joan Leslie will be in attendance, and after the screening she will be interviewed by festival host Eddie Muller.

   Connecticut, unfortunately, is a mere 3000 miles away, else I’d be there for sure.

   A giant has left us, not in height, but in terms of his stature in the field. Marv Lachman emailed me earlier today with word from his wife Pat that Ed Hoch died this morning, and the news is spreading quickly. Bill Crider was perhaps the first to post it on the web, followed quickly by Jeff Pierce at The Rap Sheet.

   Even though I’d met Ed only once, back a few years ago when he was one of the Guests of Honor at Pulpcon, I’d interviewed him before that by for the print version of Mystery*File, and we’d corresponded ever since. In recent months we’d been in touch most often as he, Marv, Al Hubin and I came across the deaths of other mystery writers and we informed each other of them.

   Ed may have been the last living link to the detective pulp era. He wasn’t published in Black Mask, only the more recent trade paperback revival, but “Village of the Dead,” his very first story, was published in the December, 1955, issue of Famous Detective.

   And of course he was still very much active, with well over 900 short stories to his credit and hoping to reach 1000. While his first story in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine appeared in December 1962, his appearance in the May 1973 issue began a streak of consecutive appearances in EQMM that has not ended, there being a story even now in the issue cover-dated February 2008.

   It’s a record that will not be surpassed. As a person, Ed Hoch was both a gentle man and a gentleman, loved by all. He will be missed.

   Here’s an email I’ve just received from Fender Tucker, head exec at Ramble House:

    “Ramble House has just released its fourth Rupert Penny mystery, The Lucky Policeman, available at the Ramble House web site and their Lulu store. That leaves four more Penny books to bring back for modern readers.

    “Ramble House has few resources for finding and acquiring these books and in the past has relied on generous collectors who have loaned us copies of the book to scan, OCR and edit. If you have one of the remaining Penny books — in any condition, in fact, the worse the better — and would loan it to me, I will return it as soon as I’ve got the book edited and will send you a copy of the Ramble House edition as soon as its available.

    “This is the modern way of reviving old books so ordinary readers can enjoy them. The traditional method appears to have failed and the big publishers don’t seem to be interested in the classic old books of yesteryear. Ramble House doesn’t have to make any money — I assure you it doesn’t — but we’re eager to do it for love. And a damn good read.”

      From the Ramble House website:

Rupert Penny: The Lucky Policeman

Rupert Penny


The Locked Room, Acrostic, Train Schedule
World of Rupert Penny

   Between 1937 and 1941 British writer Ernest Basil Charles Thornett wrote several puzzle-oriented mysteries that until now have only been available in the UK. Using the pseudonym Rupert Penny and the first person friend of Police Inspector, Tony Purdon, the author takes you to the stodgiest of English manors where murder dwells, if not reigns. Inspector Beale must use all of his puzzle-solving skills, including acrostics and elaborate timelines, to track down the murderer in classic not-so-cosy style.

   1938’s The Lucky Policeman takes Tony Purdon and Inspector Beale to an insane asylum where an inmate has escaped and townspeople are dying from a mysterious spike to the lower brain. And they are all missing their left shoe!

   In Part 21 of the Addenda to the Revised Crime Fiction IV is the following entry, which after I’ve expanded it a little, includes just about all that’s known about either the author or the publisher.

DAY, LULA M(ADELAINE). 1902?-1992?
      The Mystery of the Red Suitcase. Virginia: Hip Books, pb, February 1946. Add setting: Calumet, Indiana. Leading characters: Miss Lula Day, Squire Dunnett & Lt. Inspector Steve Badger. Note: Eleven other titles by this author were announced but none was published; all apparently were to have the same leading characters. [In Chapter One of this book, the man found shot in Miss Day’s garden turns out to be her ex-brother-in-law. Investigating the crime is Lt. Badger. Squire Dunnett is an aged attorney; as it happens, “Squire” is his first name.]

LULA M. DAY The Mystery of the Red Suitcase   The book is a regular paperback in size, although perhaps a trifle slimmer than others published in 1946 – thinner paper perhaps, as in all it’s 232 pages long, or in other words, a full-sized novel. This is the only book that Hip Books seems to have published, although as you will soon see, others were definitely in the planning stages. The only address given for Hip is Alexandria, Virginia, not exactly the publishing capital of the US, then or now.

   On the title page it says, under the Hip Books line, that the book was published “under arrangement with Owl Press, Inc.” Sherrie Tellier has followed up on this lead and reports back that “Owl Press is still in existence, but claims not to have any information on this book.”

   Not surprisingly, as it’s my feeling that Owl Press was hired to do the finished product only as an outside job, and they had nothing to do with the book from the editorial end.

   Oh, one more thing, before I get to the author herself, Lula M. Day. There’s nothing on the back cover but general information about Hip Books, and nothing about the story itself. You may have gotten the same impression about name of the company as I did, but no, the tagline for the one-book publishing firm is “They fit your hip.”

   It would seem as though tracking Lula Day down would be easy. How many Lula Day’s could there have been? The answer is another surprise. Lots of them, and believe it or not, she’s not the only Lula M. Day who shows up on Google. The dates as given above are extremely tentative, and come from this lady:

Lula M. DAY was born on 9 Nov 1902 in Ross Co., OH. She appeared in the census in Apr 1930 in Chillicothe, Ross, OH. She died on 11 Dec 1992 in Chillicothe, Ross, OH. Parents: Ellis Day and Ella Willison.

   The book takes place in Indiana, and Ohio is the next state over, making this my choice. Al Hubin has countered with:

   “If the publication of her book in Virginia is any clue, a Lula Day (no middle initial given) was born Oct 12 1899 in Virginia and died Nov 1 1988. And a Lula Day (no m.i.) was born April 18 1896, and her ss# was issued in Virginia (she died there in July 1984).”

   If you were to search online yourself, you’d come up with at least one other Lula M. Day, perhaps two. (It is not clear whether the two I just found are the same person or not.)

   This is all that various researchers, including Victor Berch, have come up with so far. We’ve all come to the same dead ends. Perhaps by posting even these incompleat results, someone will stop by, discover what we’ve found, and tell us more. That’s what we’re hoping.

   I’ve not read the book, but I’ve skimmed through the first couple of chapters, and at glance one and two, the story-telling appears solid enough. There are plenty of other reasons why there there were to be no more books from either Lula Day or Hip Books, but they did have plans, as I alluded to up above.

   What comes after THE END? [At the bottom of page 227.] Steve Badger has just proposed to Lula Day, upon which she “came unglued all at once.”

   And on the next page:


      (More About Steve and Lula Badger)


Started on a motor honeymoon to California, McNulty’s wire reached them at Topeka, Kan. The wife of the city’s wealthiest manufacturer had fantastically vanished from her bed in the night; next night her frantic husband similarly disappeared; the third night it was their bachelor son. Was it kidnapping or the supernatural? Reluctantly the Badgers interrupted their wedding-trip. But the night they returned to Calumet to help solve the case, the missing woman’s huge Persian cat reappeared in the house. Lula writes in the first person how the clue of the Cat led to Chicago and Wisconsin and finally cracked the mystery wide open. . . .


Arrived in Hollywood at the home of Lula’s relatives, Steven becomes embroiled in a different enigma. A waitress in a Drive-In Stand has been summoned home by plane to Arizona. Suddenly the plane veers over the Pacific and the girl is hurled out, falling so peculiarly that she lives to tell the story. Steven becomes interested. Quickly he develops a still greater mystery, involving well-known movie people, which he solves by a ruse of the girl’s bedroom carpet. Another inspirational detective mystery rich in the atmosphere of picturedom.


Returned to Calumet and ensconced in their new home in County Downe suburb, a wealthy Irish contractor is discovereddead in his skyscraper office with an arrow in his back and open window behind him. The contractor’s fine son is suspected of the killing. Steven follows the case to a night when rank upon rank of mysterious suspenders are seen “marching” in the darkness across the grounds of a country estate. In one of her most poignant and realistic stories, Miss Day tells the secret of the phenomena and the reconciliation that follows with the son’s wife when Steven – with Squire Dunnett’s aid – proves how the arrow reached the father’s back. , . .


An eccentric old bank president is found frozen to death in his home in a town near Calumet. The coroner declares he has not died naturally and county authorities “borrow” Steven’s service. to determine the cause of death, and – if necessary- — apprehend his slayers. Steven and Lula find bloody tracks in an upper room that seem to disappear into a doorless wall. Finally a sizable gold nuggett is located on which is engraved a grinning face, opening an Alaskan chapter in the victim’s. life where the secret of his death is found, Squire Dunnett at his best in this volume. . .


An Indiana farmhand, cutting diagonally across a cornfield to catch a bus, notices a peculiar “cornstock” rising ten inches above the soil. Looking closer, he is horrified to recognize it as the hand of a woman. Presently the body of a girl is disinterred from her make-shift grave. Pinned to her “strawberry blouse” is an address in town for police to investigate. When the housewife at the address is summoned to identify the body at the morgue, she stuns authorities by screaming that the dead girl is herself at 23 years old. Furthermore, the dead girl’s clothes are identified as having been worn by the housewife at a party at the age she has indicated. Lula describes how Badger runs up against a wall in this one, but shrewd old Squire Dunnett traces the mystery to Chicago and developes an explanation that makes the case unique …


Six Scot brothers, reputable citizens of Calumet, die off a week apart by mysterious poisoning. With no hidden scandals in their lives that Badger can discover, the safe deposit box of the eldest is opened and a little bag of buttons comes to light, along with vague papers about “the moon’s breakfast.” In the midst of investigation into their deaths, Steven and Lula have a strange and bizarre guest at County Downe, their suburban home – apparently a foreign nobleman – who talks wildly of revolutions. Subsequently this personage is involved in Steve’s and Lula’s abductions while Squire Dunnett drops tragically from sight, and Lula, shut in an abandoned auto factory, almost loses her life. In the end the bag of buttons, the “nobleman” and the abductions, are uniquely tied together – and it isn’t a revolution. One of Miss Day’s best. . . .


Badger’s growing. reputation as a homicide sleuth causes him to be retained by a Chicago millionaire to investigate someone impersonating him back east. Steven and Lula journey to Vermont, find the “millionaire” as purported to have died and been buried the week before, but when the impersonator’s family vault is opened nothing is found within the casket but an old-fashioned moustache cup, with saucer. Convinced it has significance and is not a hoax, Steven follows the trail of the coffee-cup to Philadelphia and Florida, then back to Vermont. The reason the impersonation and the presence of the cup in the casket tie together one of the most poignant stories in the Lula Day series. . . .


      “The Mystery of the Flying Elephant”
      “The Mystery of the Spinster’s Bedroom”
      “The Mystery of the Screaming Village”
      “The Mystery of the Thing Against the Moon”

   None of these, as far as can be determined, was ever printed. What would be interesting to discover is whether any or all of them were ever written.

   Another small-sized installment to the Addenda to the Revised Crime Fiction IV this time, uploaded this evening and online now as Part 23.

   Says author Allen J. Hubin:

    “You’ll notice a fair number of titles associated with Ireland, and they came out of my work with Gangsters or Guerrillas? by Patrick Magee (the last reference work I plan to go through).

    “I’m thinking that the bibliographic end is in sight. Maybe after #24 I’ll finish updating my manuscript of the print Revised CFIV and leave all the rest to exist only online. (I’m sure the flow of new and corrected information will continue.)”

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