William F. Deeck

H. W. RODEN – One Angel Less. William Morrow & Co., hardcover, 1945. Detective Book Club, hardcover reprint, 3-in-1 edition, June 1945. Dell 247, mapback edition, 1948.

H. W. RODEN One Angel Less

   Sid Ames, private Investigator, is hired to check up on a woman who is in a private hospital. Her husband is not allowed to visit her and wants to know what is going on.

   For the best of motives — he needs the money — Sid agrees to investigate even though he loathes small towns, in one of which this hospital is located. And he has good reason to dislike this small town since its officials turn out to be corrupt.

   One Angel Less is the standard tough-guy novel, with the females getting in each other’s way while they try to get at Sid. He is beaten up and yet awakes the next morning in surprisingly good condition. He undergoes another beating along with dehydration during an interrogation at the police station but escapes shortly thereafter by leaping out a window and running pell mell. Oddly, a display of coffins outside his hotel gives him the willies.

   For those who don’t mind novels the last chapter of which the villain has the drop on our hero and reveals all, omitting no detail however slight, and then is shot dead by our hero, who can barely use the hand holding the gun, surprising no one but the bad guy. Talky villains always come to no good end.

   Even Ike and Mike, Sid’s assistants, a delightful pair particularly in their guise of undertakers, can’t keep this one from being adjudged “Read if there’s nothing else available.”

— From The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 11, No. 1, Winter 1989.

Editorial Comment: Bill’s review of You Only Hang Once, another mystery by H. W. Roden, was posted earlier on this blog. Check it out here. (He didn’t much care for that one, either.) Private eye Sid Ames appeared in a total of four novels. A complete list follows the previous review.