April 2022

CAMFORD SHEAVELY “The Tie That Blinds.” Novelette. Clyde Collier #1. First published in Detective Story Magazine, June 1947. Never reprinted.

   I may be stretching it a bit to call Clyde Collier a private eye, but then again trouble shooters for the movie studios in the 1930s and 40s are generally allowed to be thought of to be in the category – think of W. . Ballard’s “Bill Lennox” stories as a prime example – so even if maybe Collier is in reality only a glorified PR man, he’s still a PI in my book, especially when murder is involved.

   Even though it’s the lead story in the issue it’s in, it’s still a minor tale. What I think I’ll do is tell you the basics and let you see if you can’t figure out the plot on your own. Dead is one of Hollywood’s top ranked directors. What’s unusual is the way he’s dressed: in a blue coat and tan shirt, with a tie decorated with purple and maroon flowers. Later on Collier spots one of the crew playing cards, only to lose because he confuses a spade for a heart in what would otherwise be a straight flush.

   Sorry, but no more hints. Not that I think you are likely to need any.

   The rest of the story is padding, but that’s ameliorated by the fact that Sheavely seems to have been someone who knew his way around a movie studio. I’d never heard of the author before either, but he had about a dozen stories published in the detective pulps in the 40s, including one in Black Mask (July 1946). You may know him better as John Reese, who wrote quite a few western novels under his own name, beginning in the 50s, including ten in his Jefferson Hewitt series.

   I’ve not read any of the latter, but I’ve always meant to. I believe, but am not sure, that Hewitt was a detective in the Paladin sense, who traveled the early West taking various jobs for hire. If anyone can say more, that’s what the comments are for.



A FOR ANDROMEDA. (1961) Television Serial in six parts. Peter Halliday, Julie Christie, Frank Windsor, John Hollis, Patricia Kneale, Mary Morris. Teleplay by (Sir) Fred Hoyle and John Elliott. Directed by Michael Hayes and others

ANDROMEDA BREAKTHROUGH. (1962) Television Serial in six parts. Peter Halliday, Susan Hampshire, John Hollis, Mary Morris, David Saire, Claude Ferrell. Various Directors including John Elliott.

A FOR ANDROMEDA.  (2006) Tom Hardy, Charlie Cox, Kelly Reilly. Screenplay by Richard Fell, based on the teleplay by Fred Hoyle and John Elliott. Directed by John Strickland.

● Novelized as A for Andromeda (1962) by Fred Hoyle and John Elliott, and Andromeda Breakthrough (1964) by Fred Hoyle and John Elliott.

   The British throughout the fifties and sixties did a series of Science Fiction serials for BBC Television varying from those aimed at younger audiences like City Beneath the Sea and Secret Beneath the Sea, to more adult stories by the legendary Nigel Kneale (Quatermass, The Quatermass Experiment, Quatermass and the Pit, The Trollenberg Terror, The Broken, The Stone Tapes) whose work was often made into feature films, as well as other creators’ works such as Doomwatch, and the John Wyndam remake of Day of the Triffids, and the Tripods.

   At a time when most American SF was limited to anthology series like The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits or children’s fare the British were doing intriguing SF with grown up themes, and of course a fair amount of monsters.

   A for Andromeda, created by BBC producer and creator John Elliot and Plumian Professor and Science Fiction author Sir Fred Hoyle in 1961, is one of the more legendary of these serials if only because of the young actress introduced as its title character, Julie Christie.

   The story is simple enough. In 1970 John Fleming (Peter Halliday) and his friend Brenner (Frank Windsor) are working at a civilian facility on a radio satellite designed to aid the military in intercepting radio traffic by potential enemies. To that end Fleming is scanning deep space as he fine tunes the satellite, a rebel pursuing his own interests at the governments expense.

   The arrival of a Judy Adamson (Patrica Kneale) a new security expert sent in as a public relations expert comes at an inopportune time for Brenner who has secretly been selling information to Intel a mysterious multi national group run by the mysterious Krautman (John Hollis).

   Everything changes when the computers detect a signal coming from space, from the Andromeda region, and when Fleming begins to decipher the code suddenly the military’s interception of radio traffic isn’t half as important.

   The coded transmission proves to be binary code for a super computer and the team is moved to a remote base in the Hebrides to build it, as Brenner is pressured by Krautman and his threatening chauffeur Egon (Paul Henchie)who even takes a few pot shots with a high powered rifle to scare Adamson off.

   When the computer transmits information for the creation of a biological entity Professor Dawnay (Mary Morris) is brought in and Fleming begins to question the safety of the project. Just what are the motives of the high handed alien intelligence behind the computer? Are they all being led down a rabbit hole by a malign alien intelligence?

   When Catherine (Julie Christie with dark hair) Brenner’s assistant is killed in an accident by the computer it creates a new biological avatar in her image, Andromeda, aka Andre (Julie Christie now an ethereal blonde) and destroys the “Cyclops” the previous attempt made by Dawnay.

   Meanwhile Adamson has closed in on Brenner and Krautman is pressuring Fleming as the latter becomes more and more convinced the computer is controlling Dawnay and the others around it as much as it does Andre, and when it attempts to kill Dawnay with a flesh eating bacteria when she questions it Fleming sees the only chance as appealing to Andre’s human side since the Prime Minister and the military can only see the super computer as a way to rebuild Britain’s lost glories.

   The Intel sub-plot is seemingly sidelined at this point, but comes back with a vengeance in Andromeda Breakthrough. The first serial stands alone, but is enhanced by the second.

   In the end Fleming succeeds in appealing to Andre’s human side and is able to destroy the computer while Andre destroys the instructions for building a new machine after realizing the computer will ultimately destroy her. Andre and Fleming escape pursued by the Royal Marines in charge of security to a nearby cave where Andre seemingly drowns in a pool and Fleming is arrested, but the world is safe.

   Andromeda Breakthrough picks up exactly where the first serial ended with Fleming under arrest and Andre (now played by yet another major discovery, Susan Hampshire of The First Churchills and Fleur in The Forsyte Family) supposedly dead. She isn’t though and soon, with Fleming, she is under arrest.

   That changes when Fleming, Andre, and Dawnay are kidnapped by Intel and Krautman and Mlle Gamboule (Claude Ferrell) and flown to the Arab kingdom of Azaran where Intel has rebuilt the super computer and needs their expertise.

   In the meantime Andre’s health begins to fail and Fleming and Dawnay rush to save her as the world’s weather begins to deteriorate and Andre traces it to an alien enzyme that threatens to destroy Earth’s fragile climate.

   With the new computer exerting influence on Mlle Gamboule and amid murderous storms and a revolution in Azaran Fleming, Dawnay, and Andre must fight to save the world and Andre and finally solve the puzzle of the mysterious alien message that began the whole thing while divining the secret of Andre’s creation.

   Both serials begin fairly slowly, but build up exponentially as they go on with more plot threads and character arcs than I can cover here, as you might expect of the serial form. Both deal with elements of the outside worlds reaction to these events that I’ve largely ignored here.

   A for Andromeda is, sadly, lost. It has been recreated using what footage still exists and titled stills from the series into a two hour feature that covers the story fairly well, and luckily most of the last two episodes are intact including the exciting ending. It was remade as a movie in 2006 starring Tom Hardy as Fleming, though unfortunately much of the plot is sacrificed and a different ending tacked on that does not allow for the events of Andromeda Breakthrough. It’s not bad, but truncating a six part serial into a less than ninety minute movie means a lot of vital story is lost for what becomes a basic Frankenstein story.

   The restructured original serial, the 2006 remake, and the entire six episode Andromeda Breakthrough serial are currently available on YouTube in decent prints, and while time has blunted some of the originals scientific edge both serials remain worth seeing.

   Most seem to agree the brunt of the writing on both the serial and the two novelizations was done by John Elliott with Fred Hoyle, despite being the author of such Science Fiction classics as Ossian’s Ride, October the First is Too Late, and The Black Cloud, is largely a technical adviser. Still considering Fred Hoyle is the man who coined the phrase “the Big Bang” (however sardonically) and whose Steady State Theory of the Universe has recently been back in favor (as flawed but useful) among many physicists attempting to understand the nature of the Universe that’s a pretty good technical adviser for any SF series.

   I read the two novels years before ever seeing the serial and still hold them in high regard as excellent SF thrillers of a kind of near future SF the British seemed to specialize in (John Wyndham, Charles Eric Maine, Christopher Hodder-Williams, Archie Roy, John Christoper, L. P. Davies etc.). Both held up well on rereading, though now I can’t help but see the characters in relation to the actors who played them. The books, published here in paperback by Fawcett Crest in 1967 when I was seventeen, were fairly seminal in my adult Science Fiction reading and expand on the serials rather than just aping them.

   In any case, that the two serials provided the screen with both Julie Christie and Susan Hampshire is a fairly good reason in and of itself to check them out.


HENRY KANE “The Memory Guy.” PI Peter Chambers. First published in Come Seven, Come Death, edited by Henry Morrison (Pocket, paperback original, 1965). Reprinted in Edgar Wallace Mystery Magazine (US), March 1966.

   In “The Memory Guy” Peter Chambers is hired to do one thing – find who’s been leaving an aspiring Broadway actress phone calls threatening her father’s life – and ends up doing another. To wit:  saving her from being accused of killing him. It seems that he was doing his best to keep her from her desired choice of career, including the rather drastic measure of persuading her to marry his law clerk, a man with a photographic memory.

   Hence the title.

   If you were to read the blurb for this particular story on the back cover, it gives the entire plot away, so don’t. As a pure detective story, it’s too short to linger in your memory for very long afterward, but it’s very well constructed.

   What I found disappointing, is that there’s nothing of Peter Chambers himself in the story. The Personality he’s developed in earlier stories doesn’t exist in this one. The PI the girl hires could have been anyone. In fact, he needn’t even be a detective, just someone she knows who’s a little more observant than a stranger off the street.



DONALD HAMILTON – The Steel Mirror. Rinehart & Co., hardcover, 1948. Dell #473, paperback, mapback edition, 1950; cover by Robert Stanley.  Gold Medal, d1617, paperback.  Film: United Artists, 1957, as Five Steps to Danger.

   So, I know I’m supposed to read Donald Hamilton. And I know this isn’t the one you’re supposed to start with. But it’s one I happen to have in paperback. And we’re on vacation on the beach in North Carolina this week. And reading vintage Gold Medal’s on the beach, sitting on a lawn chair, with an ice cold can of beer, while one’s children run around building sand castles, jumping waves, flying kites and collecting shells, is one of the most truly wonderful experiences in the world.

   And I’ve been meaning to read the guy. So, why not?

   This man Hamilton can really write. And grab you. He’s really good.

   Problem is, I’m not sure if in the end he has anything to say. Which is to say that, to me, it feels like the plot is just scaffolding to hold terrific prose.

   In terms of plot, the book is pretty heavy on the postwar paranoia Russian spy angle. And that’s not really my bag. Though current events may bring this sub genre back into style.

   John Emmett has a month off between jobs. He had a job in DC, but it was a temp job filling in for a returning soldier. He got a new job in Bakersfield and bought a cheap junker to take a slow meander cross country to his new gig.

   Unfortunately it breaks down in Iowa. And the cost to fix it outstrips the value of the car. So he’s resigned to taking the train when an overheated pretty lady in an overheated car stops into the garage. When he finds out she’s heading west one of them picks up the other, it’s not clear which, and they head off in her convertible.

   Turns out she’s recently come out of the loony bin, having PTSD from being held in a Nazi concentration camp as part of the French resistance. She has amnesia about whether or not she ratted out her resistance comrades, leading to their demise.

   She finds out that a former co-prisoner is now a professor in Denver — so she’s headed there to try to fill in the blanks in her memory.

   Unfortunately, Russian spies don’t seem to want her to meet the professor. And will do anything in their power to stop her from reaching her destination.

   The story is pretty enthralling until you finish it. You turn the pages as quickly as you can. And then, by the end, you wonder why you wasted your time.

   I mean it was fun and everything, I guess. But looking back it kinda reminded me of the ending of Neil Simon’s Murder by Death in which the murderer confesses at the end and then takes off mask after mask after mask, where by the end every single character has plausibly confessed.

   It’s not quite as ridiculous as that. But the depth of supposed Russian double agent state infiltration runs so deep it makes McCarthyism seem understated.

   Anywho, like I was saying, this Hamilton guy can really write. And one thing I really came to appreciate from the guy is how he makes setting descriptions a part of the story itself. He doesn’t use metaphor to show what a great poet he is. He uses it to advance the tension and move the story. Which is something too few writers do. Nothing makes me shut a book quicker than a cliched, unnecessary metaphor.

   Let me illustrate just how good Hamilton is at this:

   First take the title itself:

   “Then I was back in my cell again. I tried to break the mirror with a bowl they had given me food in, so that I could use the splinters to kill myself, but the mirror was steel and wouldn’t break.”

   Protagonist confusion:

   “Clouds were rising over the mountains to the westward, and the mountains themselves hidden behind the buildings across the street, but the sun was still bright and hot. He could not make himself think coherently.”

   The girl escapes capture, the protagonist wonders where she’s gone:

   “Out on the street again, he found that the thunderhead in the west had reached its zenith, and as he walked away from the hotel the sun went behind it, leaving the air suddenly a little chilly.”

   Marching at gunpoint:

   “He could see the lake as they came out, cold and metallic in the dark.”

   Racing thru the mountains, tailed by villains:

   “The road climbed up to the ridge above Hogback Lake and followed it for a mile, the lake gleaming black in the darkness below and behind them; then plunged down into the canyon on the far side…. the headlight showed alternatively raw earth cutbacks, to the left; and to the right, the tops of small pine trees rising out of the darkness.”

   As the protagonist figures out a major clue in the mystery:

   “The earth seemed to drop out of the beam of the headlights. He braked hastily and watched the light swing down to pick up the road again, where it plunged down the mountainside to the town of Summit, visible in the canyon below them as a cluster of lights. Emmett threw the gearshift into second, and let the car begin to grind its way down the hill under easy control.”

   The relationship between boy and girl starts to unravel:

   “The sun was almost down when the road dipped to show them a barren plain below, broken by a series of garishly striped, eroded buttes that, Emmett thought, were good for nothing but putting on a postcard. You did not believe in them, seeing them in the red evening sunlight, even while you were looking at them. Even the wide graded highway, with its accompanying line of telephone poles, running straight through to the horizon, did not break the illusion of unreality; a distant car, dragging dust behind it, was a busy insect from another planet.

   “He looked past her at the moon setting toward the distant low black rim of the mountains to the west…. The buttes looked cold and bleak and hostile in the shimmering semidarkness. He had the sudden thought that probably things would have looked pretty much the same had they been on the moon watching the earth set. Then he recalled that the same side of the moon always faced the earth, so that, from the moon, the earth should never set.”

TROPIQUES CRIMINELS (aka Deadly Tropics) “Les Anses d’Arlet.” French TV, 11 November 2019 (Season 1, Episode 1). Sonia Rolland (Mélissa Sainte-Rose), Béatrice de la Boulaye (Gaëlle Crivelli), and a large ensemble cast. Currently streaming on MHz.

   Take a couple of mismatched male detectives in L.A. (forgive me if this sounds familiar), make them both female, move them to Martinique, and give them all sorts of quirks and other baggage, and what you get is a TV series very much along the lines of Tropiques Criminels. Sonia Rolland plays the thinner one (she looks very much like a runway model), while Béatrice de la Boulaye plays the chunkier one (short but peppery).

   Rolland’s character is by-the-books solid; de la Boulaye is wacky and often all but out of control, and every once in a while you can forget the “all but.” Rolland’s character arrives in Martinique from Paris under pressure (her ex-husband also on the force was also quite crooked), and she has two children who do not like having had to move. de la Boulaye has an ex-boy friend who has cheated on her.

   I’m sure you get the picture. This, their first case they are given to solve together, has to do with a dead man who apparently arrived home to find it in the process of being robbed. The case is solved rather easily, but the investigation is not really the point. What the focus is this time around is getting to know the two main characters, first of all, then the other members of the ensemble cast.

   The setting is of course beautiful, but I don’t think it’s likely that this series will follow the lead of Death in Paradise, another series taking place on an island in the middle of the Caribbean – the latter’s specialty consisting of formal clues and strange, usually impossible crimes taking place.

   That’s not where I expect this one to be headed. No matter. Clichés and all, everyone seems to be in well-synced accord with the roles they are playing, and I enjoyed this more than I expected to. It will be interesting to follow along and see what sorts of criminous escapades they get into next. (So far there have been two seasons of eight episodes each.)


Reviews by L. J. Roberts


M. W. CRAVEN – Dead Ground. Washington Poe/Tilly Bradshaw #4. Constable, UK, Jun 2021; paperback, November 2021. Setting: Cumbria, Lake District, England; contemporary.

First Sentence: The man wearing a Sean Connery mask said to the man wearing a Daniel Craig mask, “Bertrand the monkey and Raton the cat are sitting by the fire, watching chestnuts roast in the hearth.”

   Detective Sergeant Poe and analyst Matilda “Tilly” Bradshaw are part of the Serious Crimes Analysis Section (SCAS) of the National Crimes Agency. They hunt serial killers and serial rapists; investigating the murder of a man found in a pop-up brothel is not their function. However, the victim was the co-owner of a private helicopter company transporting bigwigs, including the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, to a trade summit which means MI5 and the FBI are involved. Poe and Bradshaw are assigned to solve the murder and determine whether it is safe for the Secretary to attend.

   Although it is always good to read a series from the beginning, Craven provides enough structure that, due to an effective opening that then takes one into the story where he introduces many of the major players along the way, one may jump straight in. He is also clever in making the victim someone other than the top official while making the importance of the summit clear and leaving the plot plenty of scope to travel down other paths. He writes very short chapters. Each is a scene that keeps the story moving forward.

   Craven also understands that some of the major elements so critical to a good story are humor— “From Harry Potter to prostitutes in three easy moves — that was quite a turnaround.”;  –dialogue which is quick and crisp; and relationships. Not only is Poe protective of Tilly, but she is of him as well. The partnership is also an excellent way of including detailed information which is understood by Tilly and enables her to explain it to both Poe and to the reader. Where Tilly is logic, Poe is emotion and determination. While some of the technology is fascinating, it is also terrifying as some of it is real.

   The plot is original and brilliant with an excellent flow that proceeds at breakneck speed still giving one time to take an occasional breath. This is not a story one can predict. Characters are often not who one thinks they are. The revelations are not only surprising but occasionally shocking and cleverly constructed. As each occurs, one feels they should have seen it but didn’t because the story is so absorbing. The masterful twists and red herrings continue to the very end. The tension of the climax is gripping, the final resolution well done, and the very end a perfect lead-in to subsequent books.

   Dead Ground is an excellent read. The depth and excitement of the rapid-paced plot, causes non-stop reading, and puts Craven’s name on the list of “must-read” authors.

Rating: Excellent.

INSIDE MAN. Universal Pictures, 2006. Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Christopher Plummer, Willem Dafoe, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Carlos Andrés Gómez, Kim Director, James Ransone. Director: Spike Lee.

   This is a heist film, but a puzzling one, as the thieves seem more interested in stalling around than they are in negotiating their demands in exchange for the release of their hostages, several dozen of them. In fact it gradually seems clear that the hostages are an integral part of their well-constructed plan: for some unknown reason, they don’t appear to be interested in the money at all.

   Complicating matters for Denzel Washington as the head negotiator for the NYPD is the presence of Jodie Foster as a “fixer” whose client is the aristocratic owner of the bank (well played by aristocratic Christopher Plummer). She has something on the mayor, and that allows her carte blanche to do whatever she pleases with the hostage situation.

   As expected with a Spike Lee production, the camera work is terrific, the actors are superb, the several comic side bits are wonderful, and the story simply didn’t work for me. The thieves (as well as the hostages) are fully masked at all times, and in so doing are essentially anonymous. There is a reason for this, from their point of view. It is part of their plan, but why Clive Owen agreed to be in this picture with his face covered 90 percent of the time is a good question.

   Denzel Washington is, as always, the strong figure in the film, cool and collected, always with a good quip when a good quip is exactly what’s needed. Jodie Foster’s role, on the other hand, simply fizzles out, especially at the end, exactly when a good ending is needed. Not her fault, though.

   The movie did well at the box office, and that’s the bottom line, so you may call me Mr. Grumpy when I point out that no matter how elaborately the thieves’ plan was worked out in advance, it just doesn’t work. I don’t want to give away anything, but the security cameras watching the doors before the thieves break in *were* working, weren’t they?


A 1001 MIDNIGHTS Review
by Bill Pronzini


HAROLD R. DANIELS – House on Greenapple Road. Random House, hardcover, 1966. Dell, paperback, 1969. [See comment #2.] TV movie: Quinn Martin, 1970.

   The “Red Kitchen Murder,” as it came to be known in the press, began when Marian Ord’s nine-year-old daughter returned home from school to find “brown stuff … like paint or when you spill iodine” all over the kitchen of their tract house on Greenapple Road in the small Massachusetts town of Holburn.

   Marian’s sister-in-law, who lived next door, called the police. But there was no body in the house or anywhere else in the vicinity. What had happened in that kitchen? Where was Marian Ord, dead or alive?

   Dan Nalon was in charge of the investigation. Along with his fellow officers, he began probing into Marian Ord’s background-and found a maze of twisted relationships that proved she was anything but an average suburban housewife. Among her “friends” were a phony minister, head of the “Church of Redemption Through Love”; a cruel and selfish ski instructor; a decent young Italian biker; an equally decent young lifeguard at the local country club; a big-shot bookie known to have Cosa Nostra connections; and a succession of men she picked up in bars.

   She was also guilty, Nalon discovered, of passing bad checks, welshing on gambling debts, and stealing money from her tavern conquests.

   When it became apparent that her husband, George, knew of Marian’s sleazy “other life,” and that his alibi for the time of the Red Kitchen incident was not what it first seemed, Nalon’s attention focused on him- But had Ord really killed his wife in a fit of jealous rage? Just what had happened that tragic afternoon in the house on Greenapple Road?

   This is a taut and baffling thriller, told in a semi-documentary, ex-post-facto style that makes excellent use of flashbacks. The characterization, especially of Marian 0rd, is of the first rank; the writing is crisp (and there is plenty of sex to spice the narrative); and the revelations at the climax are surprising, yet fairly clued.The film version, made for TV in 1970 with Janet Leigh and Christopher  George, is faithful to the novel and just as suspenseful as a result.

   Daniels published several other novels of merit in the Fifties and Sixties, all of them paperback originals; the best are The Accused (1958), The Snatch (1958), and For the Asking (1962).

   Reprinted with permission from 1001 Midnights, edited by Bill Pronzini & Marcia Muller and published by The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, 2007.   Copyright © 1986, 2007 by the Pronzini-Muller Family Trust.

JOHN DICKSON CARR – The Sleeping Sphinx. Gideon Fell #17. Harper & Brothers, hardcover, 1947. Bantam #996, paperback, 1952. Reprinted many times.

   Does every man have in his past a girl once loved in silence, in vain? The scene is post-war Britain, and Carr’s hero, falsely reported dead while on an undercover assignment in Italy, returns home to find the breath of murder hovering over his best friend and the girl he loves. Only the genially grumpy Dr. Fell has the answer to what seems to have been a supernatural curse flung down in their midst.

   Carr will of course always be best remembered for his supreme expertise with locked rooms, but once again I’m almost equally impressed by the hints of black sinister mystery   that his stories always seem possess as well.  It’s as if his plots were more the product of a twisted and tormented imagination of a Van Gogh than the clever mind of a master detective story writer, yet when in the final chapter the curtain rises on a bare stage, the collapsible sets and other trappings are finally recognized as the common and prosaic pieces of apparatus they really  are.

   Perversely, often like the magician who, untrue to hie craft, reveals the cards up his sleeve, the mystery is more fascinating without the solution.

Rating: B

– Slightly revised from The MYSTERY FANcier, September/October 1978.

RON GOULART, Editor – The Hardboiled Dicks. Sherbourne Press, hardcover, 1965. Pocket, paperback, 1967.

   Eight stories from the pulp-age detective magazines, when violence and action were the keywords. The question is, are these stories merely representative, or were they chosen to be among the best of each author’s work? If the majority of pulp stories were below these in quality, they deserve obscurity, but if these are indeed only meant as typical examples, future digging might be quite rewarding. Overall rating: 3 stars.

[Note: Rather than reprint the entirety of the eight stories in one fell swoop, what I’ve decided to do is post them on this blog two at a time, over the next few weeks.]

  NORBERT DAVIS “Don’t Give Your Right Name.” PI Max Latin #2. Novelette. First published in Dime Detective Magazine, December 1941. Reprinted in The Complete Cases of Max Latin (Steeger Books, 2013). Max Latin, not-so-honest private eye, solves the murder of another detective working on a case connected with a job of Latin’s. Too many coincidences when thought about afterward, but is effectively done. Characterization is complete, but ending comes fast. (3)

  JOHN K. BUTLER “The Saint in Silver.” Steve Midnight #4. Novelette. First published in Dime Detective Magazine, January 1941. Collected in The Complete Cases of Steve Midnight, Volume 1 (Steeger Books, 2016). Steve Midnight, a cab driver, takes a fare on part of a treasure hunt and becomes involved in the narcotics habit of a religionist’s wife. Well told story, in Southern California surroundings. (3)

               — November 1967.

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