ROBERT TERRALL – Sand Dollars.

St. Martin’s Press; hardcover; 1st printing, 1978. Paperback reprint: Dell, 1979.

   There’s a lot of money floating around this world that most of us never get the slightest glimpse of. Tax shelters for the rich being in high demand, a great deal of this money accumulates in out-of-the-way places like regulation-free Grand Cayman Island. When the mild-mannered accountant who first discovered this Caribbean financial paradise turns down the Mafia as a silent partner in his operations, he’s forced to turn to bank robbery in retaliation and as a means for sheer survival.

   What results is a lusty tale of greed and marital infidelity, spiced with numerous feats of sexual superheroism. Unfortunately none of the hapless, amoral creatures involved arouse much sympathy when things don’t work out quite as planned, and the story crumbles into what’s left of sand castles when the tide comes in, as it inevitably does.

– From The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 3, No. 3, May-June 1979.
          (slightly revised)

[UPDATE] 05-27-09. This is a scarce book. Only 12 copies come for sale on ABE, for example, but unless you’re fussy about condition, you aren’t likely to have to pay very much for it, either.

   When I wrote the review, I may or may not have known that Robert Terrall was much more famous under several of his pen names: Robert Kyle, John Gonzales, and Brett Halliday (ghost-writing for Davis Dresser).

   The list of mystery fiction that was published under his own name is small, and at least one is be a reprint of another title as by someone else. Expanded from the Revised Crime Fiction IV, by Allen J. Hubin, here’s his entry there, excluding his work under other aliases:

TERRALL, ROBERT. 1914-2009.

      They Deal in Death. Simon & Schuster, hc, 1943.


      Madam Is Dead. Duell, Sloane & Pearce, hc, 1947.
      A Killer Is Loose Among Us. Duell, Sloane & Pearce, hc, 1948.


      Shroud for a City. Australia: Original Novels, pb, 1956. [US title?]
      Sand Dollars. St. Martin’s, hc, 1978.
      Kill Now, Pay Later. Hard Case Crime, pb, 2007. Previously published as by Robert Kyle (Dell, pbo, 1960).


   Robert Terrall was 94 years old when died on March 27th earlier this year. An excellent overview of his career can be found here on The Rap Sheet blog, along with an interview editor J. Kingston Pierce did with Ben Terrall, the author’s son and a free-lancer writer himself.

   If you missed it before, please don’t hesitate in jumping over and reading it now. If you’re a fan of vintage Gold Medal style literature, you’ll be glad you did.