Capsule Reviews by ALLEN J. HUBIN:

   Commentary on books I’ve covered in the New York Times Book Review.   [Reprinted from The Armchair Detective, Vol. 1, No. 4, July 1968.]

CHARLOTTE ARMSTRONG – The Balloon Man. Coward-McCann, hardcover, 1968, $4.95. (Paperback reprints: Fawcett Crest T1255, 1969; IPL, 1990. Film: Films de la Boetie, 1970, as La Rupture (The Breakup).)

   Miss Armstrong weaves impressive magic about some familiar ingredients: a young mother, her son, her weak and failure-prone husband and his unyielding and unloving father.


MEL ARRIGHI – Freak-Out. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, hardcover, 1968, $4.50. (Paperback reprint: Berkley X1733, 1969.)

   This fine first novel introduces an impressively original and amusing protagonist in Harrington, out-at-elbows lawyer. He thrashes unskillfully through a murder case among the psychedelic creatures of the Village scene in New York, searching for a killer who might require his talents.


GORDON ASHE – Death From Below. Holt Rinehart & Winston, hardcover, 1968, $3.95. (UK hardcover edition: John Long, 1963. Paperback reprint: Popular Library 01492, no date.)

   This is John Creasey writing about Patrick Dawlish and his Crime Haters organization. Creasey demonstrates his very capable handling of the widespread, apparently unmotivated conspiracy of death.

GORDON ASHE Death from Below

LIONEL BLACK – Outbreak. Stein and Day, hardcover, 1968, $4.95. (UK hardcover edition, Cassell, 1968. Paperback reprint: Stein & Day, 1985.)

   This is a tightly plotted and fast moving thriller involving doctors and unpleasant characters with epidemic disease in London.

JONATHAN BURKE – The Gossip Truth. Doubleday & Co./Crime Club, hardcover, 1968, $3.95. (UK hardcover edition published as Gossip to the Grave: John Long, 1967.)

   A most entertaining little puzzle of a London gossip column invention that came to life.


To be continued.