June 2010


CARTER DICKSON – He Wouldn’t Kill Patience. William Morrow & Co., US, hardcover, 1944. Wm.Heinemann, UK, hc, 1944. Reprinted many times in both hardcover and paperback, including: Dell #370, mapback edition, 1954; Berkley X1339, pb, 1966; International Polygonics, 1988.

CARTER DICKSON He Wouldn't Kill Patience

   The only reputedly good Sir Henry Merrivale I had not read before now, Patience had been set aside by me as a little treasure to be opened someday. I decided to read this weekend and I quite enjoyed it.

   Other critics and readers, including Doug Greene, have noted the problems with the later HM novels (particularly the last two), with the great HM becoming completely farcical and rather repellently reactionary.

   But back to Patience….

   This is the one involving a mysterious gassing deaths in a locked and sealed room of a London zoo director and a snake named Patience. It’s soon suspected that murder is involved!

CARTER DICKSON He Wouldn't Kill Patience

   Sir Henry, who appears in the first few pages, is on hand to solve the crime, along with Inspector Masters, who does very little, and a pair of rival magicians, one male and one female, who provide Carr’s much favored bickering love interest.

   I found the obligatory bickering lovers easier to take here because they are theatrical people to start with (and the man actually is not that bad). No other memorable characters outside a splendidly misanthropic zoo caretaker, but they are sufficient and not irritating (except for a middle-aged woman who at least is meant to be irritating).

CARTER DICKSON He Wouldn't Kill Patience

   There is some fine slapstick humor at Merrivale’s expense in the beginning of the tale, and he is in good form throughout it. The zoo setting is nicely none, amusing and sinister by turns, and it is merged with the the current London Blitz very effectively.

   Near the end something happens which may seem absurd, but it is all beautifully explained a few pages later.

   Ironically, the weakest part of this book may be the sealed room problem, the explanation of which may disappoint some by being not quite so miraculous. But it is fairly clued, as is the identity of the murderer. This may not be considered one of the great Carr’s, but, all in all, I found it one of his more entertaining tales.

Editorial Comment:   Curt has recently been re-reading a number of books by John Dickson Carr, aka Carter Dickson. This is the fifth in a series of reviews he wrote as a result. The Problem of the Green Capsule was the fourth, and you can read it here.

WARNING: PLOT ALERT!   In Comment #8, some aspects of the solution are discussed.

William F. Deeck

GUY ENDORE Detour at Night

GUY ENDORE – Detour at Night. Simon & Schuster, US, hardcover, 1959. Paperback reprint: Award, 1965. British edition: Victor Gollancz, UK, 1959, as Detour Through Devon.

   A former professor of linguistics and now one of the hopeless and homeless, Frank Willis wants to go nowhere and is in no hurry to get there. Nonetheless, by mistake he ends up in Devon, Indiana, where he had been reared in an orphanage, attended and later taught at the college, married the richest woman in town, and been found not guilty of having murdered one of his students.

   On this cold, wet night in Devon, Willis relives some of his experiences and makes the reader aware of his fascination with language, the ways and the whys of speech, a fascination that I would hope any reader would be caught up in.

   When Willis is not examining and, indeed, savoring the language, he conveys considerable tension over the crime that he is suspected of having committed, a crime the details of which are not learned until halfway through the book.

   Not a great mystery, by any means, in the sense of whodunit. Yet Willis is a gripping character, caught in a web he knows he can’t escape. Despite my being unable to give him much sympathy, as he seems to be looking for, I would deem this novel as most enjoyable.

— From The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 10, No. 2, Spring 1988.

  Criminous Bibliography:     [Taken from the Revised Crime Fiction IV, by Allen J. Hubin]

ENDORE, (Samuel) GUY. 1900-1970.
   The Man from Limbo (n.) Farrar 1930
   The Werewolf of Paris (n.) Farrar 1933 [Paris; 1871]

GUY ENDORE Detour at Night

   Methinks the Lady (n.) Duell 1945
   Detour at Night (n.) Simon 1959

Editorial Comment:   While for most of his career Guy Endore was also a well-known screenwriter, it’s the second of these novels that he’s most famous for. The Werewolf of Paris is without a doubt an absolute classic.

   I wish I could thank Bill for his review of this book. It shows a side to Endore as a writer that I knew nothing about before.

Serials from ARGOSY published as books
by Denny Lien.

   Nobody [has] mentioned having seen this data reprinted anywhere, and it seemed too interesting to leave unreprinted. So I managed to obtain photocopies of both lists [as published in ARGOSY] and have transcribed the information below. I did change format (using a slash rather than ellipses to separate author and title, using ibid rather than ditto marks, and in the case of the first list moving the asterisk indicators from before title to after title) but did not make any corrections to the actual authors and titles as listed.

   Though I’ll note here that The Single Track appears both as by “Grant Douglas” and “Douglas Grant” — the latter is correct, though in any case this was a pseudonym for Isabel Ostrander.) I also noted after the fact that my original statement that the first list did not include work from GOLDEN ARGOSY was incorrect.

   While the lists speak of “serials,” I notice a few examples where the books were actually derived from story collections or from complete-in-one-issue novels (most obviously Tarzan of the Apes). The asterisk codes in the first list, indicating the book was then in print, were not used in the second.

          — Denny Lien / U of Minnesota Libraries.    [This compilation first appeared on the FictionMags Yahoo list.]

From the December 30, 1933 “Argonotes,” pp. 140-144



At least four hundred ten serials which appeared in ARGOSY, ARGOSY-ALLSTORY, and ALLSTORY were later published in book form. Probably many more have not yet been included, and can be added later to this list which includes several we had not previously announced.

Of the following tales, those with two asterisks (**) are known to be still available in the $2.00 editions in this category; those with one asterisk (*) are available in the 75 cent editions.


Achmed Abdullah / The Man on Horseback
ibid / The Trail of the Beast
ibid / The Mating of the Blades *
Eustace L. Adams / Gambler’s Throw
Stookie Allen / Men of Daring (50 cents) *
Larry Barretto / To Babylon *
H. Bedford-Jones / The Gate of Farewell
ibid / John Solomon, Super-Cargo
ibid / Cyrano
ibid / The King’s Pardon **
Jack Bechdolt / South of Fifty-Three
Max Brand / The Guide to Happiness
ibid / Gun Gentlemen
ibid / Senor Jingle Bells *
ibid / His Third Master
ibid / Kain
ibid / The Stranger at the Gate
ibid / Tiger
ibid / Black Jack
ibid / The Garden of Eden
ibid / The Night Horseman *
ibid / The Seventh Man *
ibid / Dan Barry’s Daughter *
ibid / The Longhorn Feud **
George J. Brent / Voices
Loring Brent / Peter the Brazen
ibid / No More a Corpse **
John Buchan / The Three Hostages
Charles Neville Buck / Flight in the Hills
ibid / A Gentleman in Pajamas
Edgar Rice Burroughs / The Chessmen of Mars *
ibid / Tarzan the Terrible *
ibid / Tarzan and the Golden Lion *
ibid / Tarzan and the Ant Men *
ibid / The Bandit of Hell’s Bend *
ibid / The Moon Maid *
ibid / The War Chief *
ibid / Apache Devil **
ibid / Tarzan and the City of Gold **
Evelyn Campbell / The Knight of Lonely Land
Stanley Hart Cauffman / The Ghost of Gallows Hill
Robert Orr Chipperfield / Above Suspicion
ibid / Bright Lights
Arthur Hunt Chute / Far Gold
John Boyd Clarke / Findings Is Keepings
Frank Condon and Charlton R. Edholm / The Dancing Doll
Courtney Ryley Cooper / Caged
S.R. Crockett / Hal o’ the Ironsides
Ray Cummings / The Sea Girl
ibid / The Man Who Mastered Time *
Captain A.E. Dingle / Gold Out of Celebes
E. and J. Dorrance / Flames of the Blue Ridge
Grant Douglas / The Single Track
H.S. Drago and Joseph Noel / Whispering Sage
Harry Sinclair Drago / Following the Grass
ibid / The Snow Patrol
ibid / Smoke of the .45
ibid / Out of the Silent North
J. Allen Dunn / The Death Gamble
J. Breckenridge Ellis / The Picture on the Wall
Laurie York Erskine / The Confidence Man *
ibid / The Coming of Cosgrove *
ibid / The Laughing Rider *
ibid / Valor of the Range *
Hulbert Footner / A Self-Made Thief *
ibid / Officer!
ibid / Gentlman Roger’s Girl
ibid / The Velvet Hand *
ibid / Queen of Clubs *
ibid / Madame Storey
ibid / The Under Dogs *
ibid / The Doctor Who Held Hands *
ibid / Easy to Kill *
W. Bert Foster / From Six to Six *
David Fox / The Doom Dealer
ibid / The Handwriting on the Wall
ibid / Ethel Opens the Door
Edgar Franklin / White Collars
W.A. Fraser / Caste
Oscar J. Friend / Click of the Triangle T *
ibid / The Mississippi Hawk *
ibid / The Range Maverick *
Sinclair Gluck / Red Emeralds
John Goodwin / The Sign of the Serpent
Douglas Grant / Two-Gun Sue *
ibid / The Single Track
ibid / The Fifth Ace
ibid / Booty
Zane Grey / The Rainbox Trail *
ibid / The Lone Star Ranger *
Augusta Groner and Grace Isabel Colbron / The Lady in Blue
Katherine Haviland-Taylor / Yellow Soap
Arthur Preston Hankins / Cavern Gold
James B. Hendryx / Prairie Flower
ibid / Without Gloves *
ibid / Snowdrift *
John Holden / Prairie Shock *
Rupert Sargent Holland / The Mystery of the Opal
Fred Jackson / The Third Act
George M. Johnson / The Gun-Slinger
ibid / Squatter’s Rights *
ibid / Trouble Ranch
ibid / Riders of the Trail *
ibid / Jerry Rides the Range **
ibid / Tickets to Paradise **
ibid / Spyglass Range **
Rufus King / North Star *
Otis Adelbert Kline / The Planet of Peril
ibid / Maza of the Moon
ibid / The Prince of Peril
Slater LaMaster / The Phantom in the Rainbow
Harold Lamb / Marching Sands
A.T. Locke / Hell Bent Harrison *
Francis Lynde / David Vallory
Fred MacIsaac / The Vanishing Professor
ibid / The Hole in the Wall
ibid / The Mental Marvel
F.v.W. Mason / Captain Nemesis **
Johnston McCulley / The Mark of Zorro
ibid / The Further Adventures of Zorro
Lyon Mearson / The Whisper on the Stair
A. Merritt / The Ship of Ishtar
ibid / Seven Footprints to Satan
ibid / The Face in the Abyss
ibid / The Dwellers in the Mirage **
ibid / Burn, Witch, Burn! **
Mulford, Clarence E. / Hopalong Cassidy Returns *
ibid / Hopalong Cassidy’s Protege *
Talbot Mundy / Ho! for London Town
ibid / When Trails Were New
George Washington Ogden / Claim Number One
ibid / Trail’s End
ibid / The Duke of Chimney Butte
ibid / The Flockmaster of Poison Creek
ibid / A Man from the Badlands **
Frederic Ormond / The Three Keys
Isabel Ostrander / McCarthy Incog *
ibid / Dust to Dust *
ibid / Annihilation *
ibid / How Many Cards
ibid / Mathematics of Guilt
ibid / Liberation
Frank L. Packard / Pawned *
ibid / The Four Stragglers *
ibid / The Locked Book *
ibid / The Big Shot *
ibid / The Gold Skull Murders *
ibid / The Hidden Door **
ibid / The Purple Ball **
Lawrence Perry / Holton of the Navy
Kenneth Perkins / Strange Treasure
ibid / The Beloved Brute
ibid / The Gun Fanner
ibid / Gold *
ibid / Voodoo’d *
ibid / The Moccasin Murders *
ibid / The Canon of Light *
ibid / Ride Him, Cowboy *
ibid / The Discard
ibid / Starlit Trail
ibid / Wild Paradise
E.J. Rath / Mr. 44
ibid / Sam
ibid / The Nervous Wreck
Victor Rousseau / Wooden Spoil
ibid / The Big Muskeg
John Schoolcraft / The Bird of Passage
Charles Alden Seltzer / Lonesome Ranch *
ibid / The Trail Horde *
ibid / The Vengeance of Jefferson Gawne *
ibid / The Ranchman *
ibid / Beau Rand *
ibid / Drag Harlan *
ibid / Square Deal Sanderson *
ibid / The Way of the Buffalo *
ibid / Channing Comes Through *
ibid / Brass Commandments *
ibid / The Gentleman from Virginia *
ibid / Last Hope Ranch *
ibid / The Valley of the Stars *
ibid / Land of the Free *
ibid / Mystery Range *
ibid / The Mesa *
ibid / The Raider *
ibid / The Red Brand *
ibid / Gone North *
ibid / Double Cross Ranch *
ibid / War on Wishbone Range **
ibid / Clear the Trail **
George C. Shedd / The Invisible Enemy
ibid / In the Shadow of the Hills
Perley Poore Sheehan / Apache Gold
Garret Smith / I Did It *
Raymond S. Spears / The Flying Coyotes *
Louis Lacy Stevenson / Big Game
Charles B. Stilson / A Cavalier of Navarre
ibid / The Ace of Blades
T.S. Stribling / East is East
ibid / Blackwater
Albert Payson Terhune / Black Wings
ibid / Blundell’s Last Guest *
Lee Thayer / That Affair at “The Cedars”
Louis Tracy / The Passing of Charles lanson
W.C. Tuttle / The Silver Bar Mystery **
Stanley Waterloo / A Son of the Ages
Don Waters / The Call of Shining Steel *
ibid / Pounding the Rails *
Carolyn Wells / The Vanishing of Betty Varian
ibid / The Man Who Fell Through the Earth
ibid / More Lives Than One
ibid / The Bronze Hand
William Patterson White / The Buster *
Frank Williams / The Harbor of Doubt
George F. Worts / The Silver Fang
ibid / Who Dares *
ibid / The Blacksander *
ibid / Red Darkness
ibid / The Haunted Yacht Club


Achmed Abdullah / The Blue-Eyed Mandarin
ibid / Bucking the Tiger
ibid / Night Drums *
ibid / The Red Stain
ibid / Wings
Robert Aitken / The Golden Horseshoe
John Charles Beecham / The Argus Pheasant
Leslie Burton Blades / Claire
Earl Wayland Bowman / The Ramblin’ Kid
Cyris Townsend Brady / Britton of the Seventh
ibid / The Eagle of the Empire
ibid / The Patriots
Max Brand / Trailin’ *
ibid / The Untamed *
John Buchan / Salute to Adventurers *
ibid / The Thirty-Nine Steps
Charles Neville Buck / Destiny
ibid / When Bercat Went Dry
Edgar Rice Burroughs / The Beasts of Tarzan *
ibid / The Gods of Mars *
ibid / The Mucker *
ibid / A Princess of Mars *
ibid / The Son of Tarzan *
ibid / Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar *
ibid / Tarzan of the Apes *
ibid / Tarzan the Untamed *
ibid / Thuvia, Maid of Mars *
ibid / The Warlord of Mars *
ibid / Pellucidar *
ibid / The Mad King *
ibid / The Eternal Lover *
ibid / The Cave Girl *
ibid / At the Earth’s Core *
ibid / The Monster Men *
Octavus Roy Cohen / The Crimson Alibi
ibid / Gray Dusk
Will Levington Comfort / The Yellow Lord
Ridgwell Cullum / The Way of the Strong
Ray Cummings / The Girl in the Golden Atom
Charles Belmont Davis / Nothing a Year
George Dilnot / Suspected
Ethel and James Dorrance / Glory Rides the Range
George Allan England / The Alibi
ibid / Cursed
ibid / The Flying Legion
ibid / Pod, Bender & Co.
Jacob Fisher / The Quitter
A.H. Fitch / The Breath of the Dragon
Hulbert Footner / The Deaves Affair
ibid / The Fur Bringers
ibid / The Owl Taxi
ibid / The Huntress
ibid / The Sealed Valley
ibid / The Substitute Millionaire
ibid / The Woman from Outside
ibid / On Swan River
ibid / The Fugitive Sleuth
ibid / The Chase of the Linda Belle
David Fox / The Shadowers
Edgar Franklin / In and Out
ibid / Comeback
Arnold Fredericks / The Film of Fear
R. Austin Freeman / A Silent Witness *
Allen French / Hiding Places
Frank Froest / The Maelstrom
J.U. Giesy / Mimi
George Gilbert / Midnight of the Ranges
Jackson Gregory / The Joyous Troublemaker
ibid / Ladyfingers
ibid / The Short Cut
ibid / Six Feet Four
ibid / Wolf Breed
Zane Grey / The Border Legion *
Thomas W. Hanshew / The Riddle of the Night
Horace Hazeltine / The City of Encounters
James B. Hendryx / The Gold Girl
ibid / The Gun-Brand
ibid / The Promise
ibid / The Texan *
C.C. Hotchkins / Maude Baxter
ibid / The Red Paper
Eleanor Ingram / A Man’s Hearth
Jeremy Lane / Yellow Men Asleep
Henry Leverage / Where Dead Men Walk
Natalie Sumner Lincoln / The Moving Finger
ibid / The Red Seal
Francis Lynde / Branded
Johnson McCulley / Broadway Bab
ibid / Captain Fly-by-Night
Everett MacDonald / The Red Debt
Grace Sartwell Mason / The Golden Hope
E.K. Means / E.K. Means
ibid / More E.K. Means
ibid / Further E.K. Means
A. Merritt / The Moon Pool
Philip Verrill Mighels / Hearts of Grace
George Washington Ogden / The Rustler of Wind River
ibid / Steamboat Gold *
E. Phillips Oppenheim / The Curious Quest *
William Hamilton Osborne / The Catspaw
Isabel Ostrander / Ashes to Ashes
ibid / The Clue in the Air
ibid / Suspense
ibid / The Twenty-Six Clues
Frank L. Packard / The Beloved Traitor
ibid / From Now On *
ibid / The Sin That Was His
Randall Parrish / Comrades of Peril
ibid / Contraband
ibid / The Devil’s Own
ibid / The Strange Case of Cavendish
William MacLeod Raine / The Big Town Roundup
ibid / The Sheriff’s Son
E.J. Rath / Too Many Crooks
ibid / Too Much Efficiency
Mary Roberts Rinehart / The Circular Staircase *
ibid / The Man in Lower Ten *
C.A. Robbins / The Unholy Three
Charles G.D. Roberts / Jim
Lee Robinet / The Forest Maiden
C. MacLean Savage / The Turn of the Sword
John Reed Scott / The Man in Evening Clothes
Garrett P. Serviss / A Columbus of Space
Perley Poore Sheehan / The House With a Bad Name
ibid / If You Believe It, It’s So
ibid / The Passport Invisible
ibid / Those Who Walk in Darkness
Perley Poore Sheehan and Robert H. Davis / We Are French!
Robert Simpson / The Bite of Benin
ibid / Swamp Breath
Martha M. Stanley / The Souls of Men
Jack Steele / The House of Iron Men
Elizabeth Sutton / Dead Fingers
Albert Payson Terhune / Dad
ibid / The Unlatched Door
Harold Titus / Bruce of the Circle A
ibid / I Conquered
Louis Tracy / His Unknown Wife
Varick Vanardy / The Lady of the Night Wind
ibid / Something Doing
ibid / The Two-Faced Man
Louis Joseph Vance / The Black Bag
ibid / The Bronze Bell
Charles Edmonds Walk / The Paternoster Ruby
Ann Warner / The Tigress
Carolyn Wells / The Curved Blades
ibid / Faulkner’s Folly
ibid / Vicky Van
ibid / Raspberry Jam
Frank Williams / The Harbor of Doubt
C.N. and A.M. Williamson / Everyman’s Land
ibid / A Soldier of the Legion


Horatio Alger, Jr. / Do and Dare
ibid / Hector’s Inheritance
ibid / The Store Boy
ibid / work and Win
ibid / Helping Himself
ibid / Facing the World
ibid / In a New World
ibid / Struggling Upward
ibid / Bob Burton
ibid / The Young Acrobat
ibid / Dean Dunham
ibid / Luke Walton
ibid / Five Hundred Dollars
ibid / Driven from Home
ibid / The Erie Train Boy
ibid / Tom Turner’s Legacy
ibid / Walter Sherwood’s Probation
ibid / Digging for Gold
ibid / Debt of Honor
ibid / Jed
ibid / Chester Rand
ibid / Lester’s Luck
ibid / Rupert’s Ambition
ibid / The Young Salesman
ibid / Andy Grant’s Pluck
ibid / A Cousin’s Conspiracy
George H. Coomer / Boys in the Forecastle
Edward S. Ellis / Arthur Helmuth
ibid / Check No. 2134
G.A. Henty / Facing Peril
Frank A. Munsey / A Tragedy of Errors
ibid / The Boy Broker
ibid / Under Fire
ibid / Afloat in a Great City
ibid / Harry’s Scheme
Matthew White, Jr. / Eric Dane
ibid / The Adventures of a Young Athlete
ibid / My Mysterious Fortune
ibid / The Young Editor
ibid / The Tour of a Private Car
ibid / Guy Hammersley


From the June 23, 1934 “Argonotes, ” pp. 141-144



Thanks to the cooperation of readers Dale Morgan, R.L. Rocklin, and Julius Schwartz, and by further search of our own records, we have located more books from ARGOSY serials.

From ARGOSY alone, at least 368 books have been made. And in the other half of the ARGOSY–ALLSTORY WEEKLY — ALLSTORY — there were 195 books. For the first time we have made a list of CAVALIER books before its merger with ALLSTORY — 76 books, plus eight more in OCEAN and SCRAP BOOK which were merged with it. And there were 13 books from RAILROAD MAN’S MAGAZINE, merged with ARGOSY. 563 books from ARGOSY and ALLSTORY alone — and a grand total of 660 books serialized in the magazines which made up to-day’s ARGOSY!

Six hundred and sixty books since ARGOSY was founded in 1882. We’d be surprised if any other magazine can come within several hundreds of that total. And ARGOSY goes on — we know of several recent serials now on the book publishers’ presses, soon to be announced.

The following books were not included in the 410 listed Dec. 30 (a list which included several duplications and errors, all cancelled in totaling our 660):


Frank Aubrey / A Queen of Atlantis
Edwin Baird / The Heart of Virginia Keep
Richard Barry / The Big Gun
Nalbro Bartley / The Whistling Girl
St. Clair Beall / The Winning of Sarenne
H. Bedford-Jones / The Seal of John Solomon
Arnold Bennett / The Grand Babylonian Hotel
Robert Ames Bennet / Sunnie of Timberline
Max Brand / The Sword Lover
Edgar Rice Burroughs / Pirates of Venus
H.D. Chetwode / John of Strathbourne
William Wallace Cook / The Fateful Seventh
ibid / The Eighth Wonder
ibid / The Desert Argonaut
ibid / The Sheriff of Broken Bow
ibid / An Innocent Outlaw
ibid / Jim Dexter, Cattleman
ibid / The Gold Gleaners
ibid / In the Wake of the Simitar
ibid / A Round Trip to the Year 2000
ibid / Cast Away at the Pole
ibid / Adrift in the Unknown
ibid / Marooned in 1492
ibid / The Cats-Paw
ibid / At Daggers Drawn
ibid / Rogers of Butte
ibid / The Spur of Necessity
W. Carleton Daws / The Voyage of the Pulo Way
Burford Delanncy / The Midnight Special
J. Allan Dunn / The Isle of Drums
ibid / A Man to His Mate
ibid / Fortune Unawares
Knarf Elivas / John Ship, Mariner
J.S. Fletcher / The Double Chance
Edgar Franklin / Mr. Hawkins’ Humorous Adventures
John Frederick / Luck
ibid / Pride of Tyson
Thomas Griffiths and Armstrong Livingston / The Ju-Ju Man
John H. Hamlin / Range Rivals
Donald Bayne Hobart / The Whistling Waddy
J.M. Hoffman / Six-Foot Lightning
Fred Jackson / The Diamond Necklace
George M. Johnson / Texas Range Rider
Rufus King / Whelp of the Winds
William Le Quieux / An Eye for an Eye
Henry Leverage / The Purple Limited
Will Levinrew / The Poison Plague
Fred MacIssac / Burnt Money
Arthur W. Marchmont / When I Was Czar
ibid / By Right of Sword
ibid / A Dash for a Throne
Edison Marshall / The Tiger Trail
Wyndham Martyn / The Mysterious Mr. Garland
William Stevens McNutt / The Endless Chain
Elizabeth York Miller / The Greatest Gamble
William D. Moffat / The Crimson Banner
ibid / Not Without Honor
Sinclair Murray ./ The Crucible
George Washington Ogden / The Ghost Road
ibid / The Trail Rider
ibid / The Well Shooters
John Oxenham / God’s Prisoner
Max Pemberton / The Phantom Army
Kenneth Perkins / Fast Trailin’
ibid / The Devil’s Saddle
Frank Lillie Pollock / Frozen Fortune
William MacLeod Raine / Steve Yeager
ibid / Moran Beats Back
E.J. Rath / Gas–Drive In
John P. Ritter / The Man Who Dared
Victor Rousseau / The Big Man of Bonne Chance
ibid / The Golden Horde
ibid / My Lady of the Nile
ibid / Mrs. Aladdin
Edwin L. Sabin / The Rose of Santa Fe
Frank Savile / Beyond the Great South Wall
F.K. Scribner / The Secret of Frontellac
Charles Alden Seltzer / Slow Burgess
ibid / Trailing Back
Garrett P. Serviss / The Moon Maiden
Perley Poore Sheehan / Three Sevens
Garret Smith / Between Worlds
Georges Surdez / Swords of the Soudan
W.C. Tuttle / Bluffer’s Luck
C.C. Waddell / Midnight to High Noon
Frank Williams / The Wilderness Trail

ARGOSY (Juveniles)

Harry Castlemon / Don Gordon’s Shooting Box
Edward S. Ellis / The Last Trail
ibid / Campfire and Wigwam
ibid / Footprints in the Forest
ibid / The Camp in the Mountains
ibid / The Last War Trail
ibid / Red Eagle
ibid / Blazing Arrow
W. Bert Foster / In Alaskan Waters
ibid / Arthur Blaisdell’s Choices
ibid / A Lost Expedition
ibid / The Treasure of South Lake Farm
ibid / The Quest of the Silver Swan
William Murray Graydon / With Cossack and Convict
Oliver Optic / Making a Man of Himself
ibid / Every Inch a Boy
ibid / Always in Luck
ibid / The Young Pilot
ibid / The Cruise of the Dandy
ibid / The Young Hermit
ibid / The Prisoners of the Cave
ibid / Among the Missing
Edward Stratemeyer / Reuben Stone’s Discovery
ibid / True to Himself
ibid / Richard Dare’s Venture


Achmed Abdullah / A Buccaneer in Spats
ibid / The Honourable Gentleman and Others
Achmed Abdullah, Max Brand, E.R. Means, and P.P. Sheehan / The Ten-Foot Chain
Edwin Baird / The City of Purple Dreams
H. Bedford-Jones / Loot
ibid / A Three-Fold Cord
John Charles Beechams / The Yellow Spider
Max Brand / The Children of Night
ibid / Clung
ibid / Who Am I?
ibid / Fate’s Honeymoon
J. Storer Clouston / Two’s Two
William Wallace Cook / Thorndyke of the Bonita
ibid / Back from Bedlam
ibid / The Deserter
ibid / The Last Dollar
ibid / In the Web
ibid / The Goal of a Million
Capt. A.e. Dingle / The Island Woman
ibid / The Pirate Woman
Maurice Drake / The Ocean Sleuth
J.S. Fletcher / The Diamonds
Juliette Gordon-Smith / The Wednesday Wife
James B. Hendryx / The One Big Thing
Headon Hill / Sir Vincent’s Patient
Henry Leverage / The White Cipher
Frederick Ferdiand Moore / Sailor Girl
George Washington Ogden / The Bondboy
William MacLeod Raine / A Daughter of the Dons
E.J. Rath / The Brat
ibid / A Good Indian
ibid / Elope if You Must
ibid / Good References
ibid / Once Again
ibid / When the Devil Was Sick
C.A. Robbins / Silent, White, and Beautiful
Victor Rousseau / Jacqueline of Golden River
ibid / The Lion’s Jaws
ibid / Draft of Eternity
ibid / The Big Malopo
ibid / The Sea Demons
Perley Poore Sheehan / The Bayou Shrine
ibid / The Whispering Chorus
August Weissl / The Mystery of the Green Car
C.N. & A.M. Williamson / This Woman to This Man


Frank R. Adams / Five Fridays
Arthur Applin / The Girl Who Saved His Honor
Robert Barr / Cardillac
Arnold Bennett / Hugo
Cyrus Townsend Brady / The Sword Hand of Napoleon
Victor Bridges / Another Man’s Shoes
Edgar Beecher Bronson / The Vanguard
Charles Neville Buck / The Portal of Dreams
ibid / The Call of the Cumberlands
Stephen Chambers / When Love Calls Men to Arms
Dane Coolidge / The Fighting Fool
F. Marion Crawford / The Undesirable Governess
Florence Crewe-Jones / The Inner Man
ibid / The Red Nights of Paris
James Oliver Curwood / Flower of the North
ibid / Isabel
Beulah Marie Dix / The Fighting Blade
Maurice Drake / The Salving of a Derelict
James Francis Dwyer / The White Waterfall
ibid / The Spotted Panther
George Allan England / The Golden Blight
ibid / Darkness and Dawn
Jacob Fisher / The Cradle of the Deep
Herbert Flowerdew / The Villa Mystery
Hulbert Footner / Jack Chanty
Arnold Fredericks / One Million Francs
ibid / The Ivory Snuff Box
ibid / The Blue Lights
ibid / The Little Fortune
Tom Gallon / As He Was Born
J.U. Giesy/ All for His Country
Rufus Gillmore / The Alster Case
John Goodwin / Without Mercy
Jackson Gregory / Under Handicap
ibid / The Outlaw
H. Rider Haggard / Morning Star
Forrest Halsey / The Stain
Horace Hazeltine / The Snapdragon
James B. Hendryx / Marquard the Silent
Maurice Hewlett / Brazenhead the Great
Fred Jackson / The Gripful of Trouble
Elizabeth Kent / Who?
William Le Queux / The Room of Secrets
James Locke / The Stem of the Crimson Dahlia
ibid / The Plotting of Frances Ware
Caroline Lockhart / The Full of the Moon
Harold McGrath / Pidgin Island
William Brown Maloney / The Girl of the Golden Gate
Philip Verrill Mighels / As It Was in the Beginning
Edward Bredinger Mitchell / The Shadow of the Crescent
Frederick Ferdinand Moore / The Devil’s Admiral
E. Phillips Oppenheim / Mr. Marx’s Secret
Isabel Ostrander (Lamb) / The Heritage of Cain
ibid / At 1:30
Frank L. Packard / Greater Love Hath No Man
William McLeod Raine / The Pirate of Panama
E.J. Rath / Something for Nothing
ibid / The Mantle of Silence
ibid / The Sky’s the Limit
Mary Roberts Rinehart / Where There’s a Will
Theodore Goodridge Roberts / Two Shall Be Born
ibid / Jess of the River
E. Serao / King of the Camorra
Garrett P. Serviss / The Second Deluge
Ralph Stock / Marama
Arthur Stringer / The Shadow
Alice Stuyvesant / The Hidden House
Louis Tracy / One Wonderful Night
Varick Vanardy / Alias the Night Wind
ibid / The Night Wind’s Promise
ibid / The Return of the Night Wind
Louis Joseph Vance / The Destroying Angel
ibid / The Day of Days
Henry Kitchell Webster / The Ghost Girl
John Fleming Wilson / The Princess of Sorry Valley


Robert Ames Bennet / Into the Primitive
Stephen Chalmers / A Prince of Romance
ibid / The Vanishing Smuggler
William Wallace Cook / Fools for Luck
ibid / A Deep Sea Game
ibid / Frisbie of San Antone
Albert Dorrington / The Radium Terrors
Crittendon Marriott / Isle of Dead Ships


Harold Bindloss / By Right of Purchase
Max Brand / Harrigan
William Wallace Cook / Running the Signal
ibid / The Paymaster’s Special
ibid / Dare, of Darling & Co.
ibid / Trailing the Josephine
Emmet F. Harte / Honk and Horace
Johnston McCulley / A White Man’s Chance
Bannister Merwin / The Girl and the Hill
Randall Parrish / The Highway of Adventure
E.J. Rath / Let’s Go (Sixth Speed)
Victor Rousseau / Eric of the Strong Heart
Louis Joseph Vance / The Brass Bowl


ARCHER MAYOR – The Skeleton’s Knee. Mysterious Press, hardcover, December 1993; paperback reprint, November 1994. Joe Gunther #4.

   I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Mayor is one of the best writers to come along in the last few years.


   Lieutenant Joe Gunther’s got a 25 year old murder. A man just died who lived on a farm outside Brattleboro, Vermont, and the autopsy shows it was the result of an old, untreated bullet wound. Nobody knows anything about the man, but he had a lot of old, circa 1969 and before, cash money.

   When the police go over the grounds searching for a gun, they uncover a skeleton with an artificial knee, also circa 1969. The trail leads to Chicago where the operation was performed, and leads Joe down unforeseen paths, and into unexpected danger.

   Mayor tells a story about as well as anyone writing cop novels these days. His prose can be almost lyrical when describing the Vermont countryside, and crisp and clean when describing the to and fro of police work. Gunther is am appealing and well drawn character, as are several others who reappear in the series.

   The Chicago section of the book reads as realistically as the Vermont, which means Mayor has either been there or knows how to fake it well.

   There’s a lot of nicely handled detective work, and the only problems I had with the book were a few plot elements that I had trouble believing fully. That’s true with most of ’em, though, and it doesn’t keep me from recommending it to you.

— Reprinted from Ah, Sweet Mysteries #10, November 1993.

       The Joe Gunther series —

1. Open Season (1988)


2. Borderlines (1990)
3. Scent of Evil (1992)
4. The Skeleton’s Knee (1993)


5. Fruits of the Poisonous Tree (1994)
6. The Dark Root (1995)
7. The Ragman’s Memory (1996)
8. Bellows Falls (1997)


9. The Disposable Man (1998)
10. Occam’s Razor (1999)
11. The Marble Mask (2000)


12. Tucker Peak (2001)
13. The Sniper’s Wife (2002)
14. Gatekeeper (2003)
15. The Surrogate Thief (2004)
16. St. Alban’s Fire (2005)


17. The Second Mouse (2006)
18. Chat (2007)
19. The Catch (2008)
20. The Price of Malice (2009)
21. Red Herring (2010)


THE NINTH GUEST. Columbia Pictures, 1934. Donald Cook, Genevieve Tobin, Hardie, Edward Ellis, Edwin Maxwell, Vince Barnett, Helen Flint, Samuel S. Hinds, Nella Walker. Based on the novel The Invisible Host, by Gwen Bristow & Bruce Manning; previously produced as a play, The Ninth Guest, by Owen Davis, who is also given credit as one of two co-screenwriters. Director: Roy William Neill.

   Regular readers of this blog will recall that The Invisible Host, the book by Bristow and Manning this movie was nominally based upon, has been reviewed here twice before, once by David Vineyard, the second time by Jim McCahery.

   So I needn’t go into as much detail about the film as I might have otherwise. Suffice it to say, I trust, that eight socialites of New Orleans are tricked into attending a murder party. Trapped in an apartment high above ground level, their host, a voice only on the promises them they will all be dead by morning, unless they manage to outwit him.

   And straightforwardly, he begins doing just that, preying on their weaknesses, finding the flaws in their characters and allowing them, in many cases, to bring their own doom down around them.

   It’s difficult to say how closely the movie follows the book, even with two reviews, The opening scenes in the deadly apartment are the same, that much is clear, but I think I’d rather read the book myself, as I suspect some trimming may have been done, or the details changed, in order to fit it into its 65 minutes of running time.

   In that sense, it may easily follow the play more closely than the book, but film itself, with some qualifications, is certainly worth watching. The apartment is filled with dark rooms and dark corners and dark stairs, and the director and the head cameraman certainly make the most of it.

   In all honesty, when you think about it, once the movie’s over, you have to realize how unlikely the whole scenario has been, and how almost impossible it would have been, from the murderer’s point of view, to have pulled it off as successfully as he did. Another problem, from the viewer’s point of view, this time, is that as the number of survivors begins to decrease, it becomes easier and easier to decide who the killer might be.

   Assuming, of course, that the killer is one of the eight, and just so that I don’t give everything away, that I will refrain from confirming. You might want to watch the movie yourself, and with the qualifications I previously mentioned, I most certainly recommend that you do.

Reviews by L. J. Roberts

JACK FREDRICKSON – Honestly Dearest, You’re Dead. St. Martin’s/Minotaur, hardcover, January 2009.

Genre:   Licensed PI. Leading character:  Vlodek “Dek” Elstrom, 2nd in series. Setting:   Florida.

JACK FREDERICKSON Honestly Dearest, You're Dead

First Sentence:   She wouldn’t have heard the back door glass being punched out, not in those winds.

   Investigator Dek Elstrom is unemployed, broke and living in a five-story turret with no castle. He is contacted by an attorney in Michigan and advised that he has been named executor by a woman who was murdered, but that he doesn’t know.

   When Dek visits where the woman was living, there is an object he first thinks may have been connected to someone from his past. Dek determined to learn more about this woman, even at the risk of his own life.

   I very much enjoyed Jack Fredrickson’s first book A Safe Place for Dying, which had been nominated for a Shamus Award. I like this book even more.

   The sense of place is excellent and created through vivid descriptions: “…a small red lighthouse … stood like a crimson exclamation point against the vanished horizon.” The book is mainly set in the winter and you are cold. When Dek travels to Florida, you feel the sudden heat and humidity.

   By providing background on many of the places, he brings them to life, making them characters in their own right. The characters, themselves, are ones I really liked. While they are not as fully developed as I might like for someone who has not read the first book, they certainly have enough dimension so you have a real sense of who they are.

   Dek is a particularly appealing protagonist in that he will sometimes do dumb things, but knows they are dumb when he does them. At the same time, he is smart and dedicated to putting the pieces together and following the trail. With the support of his wardrobe-challenged but brilliant, best friend Lou, one of my recently most-favorite characters, and ex-wife-but-not, Amanda, and even his nemesis Elvis Derbil, these are characters I want to continue to follow.

   Don’t be fooled by the title, this is not a cozy and the title makes very good sense, once you’ve gotten into the book. The story, and the author’s voice with just the right touch of wry humor, was great.

   Okay, there was one hole in the plot, and a bit of redundancy which should have been caught in editing, but I’ll forgive that. There were so many unexpected twists, none of which felt contrived, and some very good suspense. This was a straight-through, didn’t-put-it-down read for me. I am anxious for the next book.

Rating:   Very Good Plus.

Reviewed by DAVID L. VINEYARD:         


DARK INTRUDER. Universal Pictures, 1965. Leslie Neilsen, Mark Richman, Judi Meredith, Werner Klemperer, Charles Bolender, Vaughn Taylor, Gilbert Green. Screenplay: Barré Lyndon. Director: Harvey Hart.

    He killed with the power of demons a million years old.

   It’s foggy turn of the century (1890) San Francisco and the city is being stalked by a murderer, but no ordinary killer — he’s killing in the name of Lovecraftian demons from the ancient past. Only a handful of victims stand between him and eternal life, leaving behind a mystical ivory demon with a parasite on its back that grows smaller with each murder as the time grows shorter between the date each new victim dies.

   Who is the disfigured monster stalking the foggy streets and what is his true face, and what is the demonic killer after? There’s even the mummified body of a demon in the possession of a mysterious Chinese who aides our hero.

    Kingsford: How bad is it?

    Chinese: How bad? This is a Sumerian god, ancient before Babylon, before Egypt. It is the essence of blind evil, demons and acolytes so cruel, so merciless, all were banished from the earth and they are forever struggling to return. In the old days people were possessed by demons. These demons.

   Leslie Neilson is amateur supernatural sleuth Brett Kingsford (“The seventh son of a seventh son has a reputation to uphold”) — replete with secret crime lab, a Latin motto “Omina Exeunt in Mysterium” (Everything is a Mystery), a library of occult tomes, and a dwarf assistant named Nikola (Charles Bolender):

    Evelyn: I swear every time I see him he’s shrunk another inch.

    Kingsford: Yes poor chap, destined for ultimate evaporation I’m afraid. The penalty for telling a Dyak witch doctor to go jump in the lake.


   Kingsford is called in by the Police Commissioner (Gilbert Green) to help find the killer (“You seem to specialize in obscure acquaintances.”), which he does while maintaining the pose of a playboy a la Lamont Cranston or the Scarlet Pimpernel (“For me to be any value to you at all the company of a narcotics addict is preferable to a police commissioner.”), though he is less than happy when Kingsford suggests they are hunting a ritual murderer in the thrall of ancient Sumerian gods who must be locked away “… where all such unearthly things belong.”

   Nielson has some fun as the Sherlockian Kingsford, who is a master of disguise and fully as high handed as Holmes at his best. Judi Meredith is Evelyn, whose psychic trances aide Kingsford in his hunt for the demonic killer, fiancee of wealthy importer and a friend of Kingsford, Robert Vandenberg (Mark Richman).

    Vanderberg: Brett, I feel as if there is some secret part of me trying to come to the surface…

   This was originally shot as a pilot for a series, The Black Cloak, that never developed and released theatrically by Universal as a feature as sometimes happened then.

   Night Gallery producer Jack Laird produced it and the teleplay was by Barré Lyndon (screenplays for The Lodger, Hangover Square, War of the Worlds, Night Has 1000 Eyes — with Jonathan Latimer — The Man Who Could Cheat Death, and his play The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse), so the mix of horror, mystery, and detective elements were natural. The eerie score is by Lalo Shifrin.

   Enjoying himself playing Kingsford, Leslie Nielsen gets to indulge in disguises and flights of Holmesian reasoning, and the scenes with Mark Richman as wealthy Robert Vandenberg have a nice bite to them.

    Vanderberg (after Kingsford is attacked in his shop by a mysterious black cloaked figure): Did he have a knife?

    Kingsford: No, he had claws.


   You’ll have to look closely for Werner Klemperer, Colonel Klink from Hogan’s Heroes, in a key role with a distinctly Lovecraftian twist if you recall the plot of “The Dunwich Horror.”

   Handsome Robert Vandenberg has a demonic twin, Professor Malachi, born at the same time on an archeological dig, and brought up by a nurse who was midwife to Robert’s mother, who won’t be happy until he has traded bodies with his half brother and ushered in his demonic father.

    Professor Malachi: I am a wonder and a monster at the same time.

   A set piece when Malachi confronts Vandenberg in a foggy church is nicely done with one last twist when the misshapen Malachi plunges to his supposed death…

    Kingsford: I can’t help thinking it’s not finished.

   And he’s right as he races to save Evelyn from a fate much worse than death:

    Kingsford: Oh, Nicola, if only the rest of the world knew what we do.

    Nicola: If they did sir, nobody would get a decent night’s sleep.

   This is an entertaining little exercise in the mix of detective and horror elements with an attractive cast and Leslie Neilsen in a lead role long before he revealed his comic flair in the Airplane! movies.


   At a mere 59 minutes it is tightly written and directed and moves along nicely never pausing long enough for any pesky doubts to cloud the viewers enjoyment of the precedings.

   This was on everyone’s wish list for years, and when it showed up a few years ago on the gray market it was a bonus to discover it was every bit as good as the memories it evoked. It’s an attractive little black and white entry in the mystery/horror genre that manages some genuine chills and solid fun.

   More than a few more expensive productions fail to deliver as much atmosphere, action, and fun as this one does. It may remind you of the similar Chamber of Horrors with Patrick O’Neal and Cesare Danova, another pilot turned feature, though this one, thankfully, does without the “Horror Horn.”

   Dark Intruder is a fine example of a period when the pilots that failed were sometimes more interesting than the ones that succeeded.

GEORGE HARMON COXE – Uninvited Guest. Popular Library, paperback reprint; no date stated (late 1960s?). Hardcover edition: Alfred A. Knopf, 1953.

GEORGE HARMON COXE - Uninvited Guest

   According to Al Hubin’s Crime Fiction IV, there have been only nine mysteries (one marginal) that have taken place in Barbados, one many island countries in the Caribbean (independent since 1966) , and George Harmon Coxe has written three of them. (The most famous of the other six is probably The Green Hell Treasure, by Robert L. Fish, a Captain Jose da Silva adventure.)

   While many of Coxe’s standalone novels take place in such exotic places such as Cuba, Panama, Belize and Trinidad, I’ve always preferred those he wrote with either of his two favorite characters, Flash Casey and Kent Murdock, both newspaper photographers in the Boston area. Chalk it up to their newspaper backgrounds, which I always enjoy, and the ultimate stability of familiar faces.

   But I was attracted to this one by first of all the McGinnis cover, which may be a little too small and dark to show up well — and my apologies for that if it doesn’t — and of course the attraction of the Caribbean is exactly that, an attraction. (I’ll see if I can’t blow up the artwork a little.)

GEORGE HARMON COXE - Uninvited Guest

   The uninvited guest is Julia Parks, who crashes a small party planning on an short ocean cruise by schooner the next day. She knows most of them, most of them know her, and plans of several are threatened by her unexpected presence.

   One of the above is her ex-husband, who has come into a small inheritance since their divorce. Imagine his surprise when she tells him that the divorce never went through.

   The owner of the schooner, Alan Scott, does not know her, but he would like to sell the schooner to one of the couples about to make the trip with him, and the trip may be off.

   Scott also has an eye on one of the unattached women in the party, or perhaps she is not, as she seems to have been brought along by her half-sister with an ulterior motive in mind. But when she (the girl) seems to put herself in danger of being accused of the decedent’s passing — oops, I missed telling you about that, but you know who I mean, don’t you? — he (Scott) takes it upon himself to clear her, in spite of the abilities of a rather good policeman who’s put in charge of the case.

GEORGE HARMON COXE - Uninvited Guest

   You can therefore categorize this as a case tackled by an amateur detective, which is to say, there is a lot of messing around with evidence, clues, accusations and alibis, the whole works.

   There’s not a lot of action, only a fist fight or two, but lots of nightclubbing and the like, with the abundance of social drinking that goes along with it.

   There are clues, by the way, but without motives — would you be surprised if I told you that the dead woman was not the most popular woman on the island? — I’d have to say on a Fair Play scale ranging from one to ten, this would rank no higher than five.

   Mildly entertaining at best is my final judgment. I still favor those guys from Boston.


J. H. WALLIS – Once Off Guard. E.P. Dutton, hardcover, 1942. Also published as: The Woman in the Window. World, 1944. Paperback reprints: Mercury Mystery #81, 1944, abridged; Armed Forces Edition #723, 1945, as The Woman in the Window; Popular Library #385, 1951, abridged.

J. H. WALLIS Woman in the Window

    ● Filmed as The Woman in the Window: RKO, 1944. Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Raymond Massey, Edmund Breon, Dan Duryea. Screenwriter: Nunnally Johnson. Director: Fritz Lang.

   I like to do the book/movie thing (read a few chapters in the book each day, then watch the corresponding scenes of the film that night) and got a chance last week with The Woman in the Window, originally published back in 1942 as Once Off Guard by J.H. Wallis and filmed by Fox in ’44.

   Wallis’s book is an oddly depressing read, tense and claustrophobic, told almost entirely from the point of view of Professor Richard Wanley, who, overcome by reading erotic poetry of ancient Greece, gets involved with a tart and suddenly has to kill her sugar-daddy in self-defense.

   Terrified of scandal and genuinely reluctant to hurt his wife, Wanley and the tart cover up the crime and hide the body, leading to a world of complications.

   The book, as I say, gets a bit depressing as Wanley frets and sweats over little things that loom large in his guilty conscience, sure that everyone notices tiny clues that link him to the killing, and it gets worse yet when the tart gets a visit from a prospective blackmailer. All of which leads to more murder, more guilt and a neat, ironic ending. An involving read, but not much fun.

J. H. WALLIS Woman in the Window

   So when Fox took this on for a movie, they gave it to writer Nunnally Johnson, who could be depended on to lighten things up, and director Fritz Lang, whose sense of fatalism was perfectly suited to the material.

   The result is just as involving as Wallis’s book, but much less claustrophobic. Characters who seem merely looming presences in the book get neatly fleshed out in the movie by competent players like Raymond Massey, Dan Duryea and Edmund Breon (whom some may remember as the lascivious music box collector in the Sherlock Holmes flick, Dressed to Kill).

   Also, we get to see things in the movie that in the book are only imagined by Wanley, opening things out a bit. Finally, there’s a twist ending, followed by a twist on a twist, handled beautifully by Lang in a cinematic flourish where he abruptly changes scenes without cutting.

   Think of that: he actually switches scenes without cutting! A friend of mine once asked the director (by then quite aged and revered) how he did this, and Lang merely smiled and said some mysteries were best left as mysteries.

   I suspect he just didn’t remember.

Bio-Bibliographical Data:   James Harold Wallis, 1885-1958, was the author of ten mystery and crime fiction novels for Dutton between 1931 and 1943, the first six of which were cases for Inspector Wilton Jacks. Says Al Hubin of Wallis in Crime Fiction IV: Born in Iowa, educated at Yale; newspaperman in Iowa turned full-time writer in New York.

J. H. WALLIS Woman in the Window


RUTH RENDELL – Not in the Flesh. Crown, US, hardcover, June 2008. Trade paperback: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, June 2009. British edition: Hutchinson, hardcover, 2007.

RUTH RENDELL Not in the Flesh

   Jim Belbury likes to walk his dog through Old Grimble’s Field because the dog is good at sniffing out truffles which he can sell to fancy restaurants in London. But one summer’s day the dog digs out a skeletal hand which brings Chief Inspector Wexford and his team to investigate.

   The remains turns out to be those of a man who was killed about eleven years earlier. At that time Old Grimble’s stepson, who inherited the land, had the idea he could get the planning commission’s permission to put up houses on it.

   He and the man he hired had begun digging a trench where the sewage pipes would be laid. Permission was refused and the trench was filled in, but someone used it as a convenient place to hide a body.

   So the search begins to try and identify the body of someone who has been missing for eleven years. Then, a few days later, when two of Wexford’s men are searching the bungalow, they discover in the basement buried under a woodpile, the body of another man who, it turns out, was killed eight years earlier. Are the two dead men connected and, if so, how?

   Meanwhile, a subplot deals with female “circumcision” among the Somali community in Kingsmarkham when the Somali waitress at an Indian restaurant Wexford and his assistant, Mike Burden, like to eat lunch approaches Wexford because she fears her 5-year-old sister is about to have that procedure, which the waitress had undergone as a child.

   As usual, with Rendell, you cannot fault her writing or characterization. With this one, though, even before the identity of the body in the trench was discovered, I realized the motive for the murder and, if I didn’t know the exact name of the killer, I knew in which household the killer could be found.

   One other thing, and someone perhaps in the UK can help me out here: during the course of the novel the police are looking for a man nicknamed Dusty and, automatically, assume his last name must be Miller because all man nicknamed Dusty are invariably named Miller. Why? Over here we are likely to think his last name is Rhodes, but not invariably.

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