William F. Deeck

LESLIE ALLEN Murder in the Rough

LESLIE ALLEN [HORACE BROWN] – Murder in the Rough. Five Star Mystery #45, paperback original, digest-sized, 1946.

   In Napoleon B. (which may stand for “Buttercup,” but probably doesn’t) Smith’s only case, he apparently kills a slightly dotty old lady during a golf game when one of his drives, as is the fate of most of them, hooks into what is known as Hell’s Half Acre. Only sometime later does Smith conclude that he was not really responsible and that a murderer was on the course that day.

   A sort of active and crass Nero Wolfe, Smith is a former policeman who uses his weight and bad manners as aids in his investigations. However, he also employs brains, which are not puny, and a literary background that is unexpected. Leslie Allen, Smith’s Watson [or Archie], reluctantly takes care of the dogsbody work.

   It is to be hoped that Leslie Allen the character and alleged writer is a better stylist than Leslie Allen the author. Still, the creation of Smith is something of an accomplishment.

— From The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 12, No. 3, Summer 1990.

Bibliographic Data:   Under his own name Horace Brown was the author of two other crime novels included in the Revised Crime Fiction IV, by Allen J. Hubin:

BROWN, HORACE.   1908-??

       Whispering City. Streamline, 1947.
       The Penthouse Killings. Newsstand Library #17A, 1950; reprinted as The Corpse Was a Blonde, Boardman, UK, 1950.

   Whispering City was a novelization of the Canadian film of the same name starring Paul Lukas, Mary Anderson and Helmut Dantine. It was released in the US as Crime City (1947).