IT’S ABOUT CRIME, by Marvin Lachman

HUGH PENTECOST – Remember to Kill Me. Dodd Mead, hardcover, 1984. Worldwide, paperback, 1988.

HUGH PENTECOST Remember to Kill Me

   Longevity is one of the strong points of Judson Philips, who was a sports reporter while a student at Columbia University where he was a contemporary of Cornell Woolrich and Jacques Barzun in the early 1920s.

   He’s been writing ever since, under his own name and the more famous pseudonym of Hugh Pentecost, with hundreds of magazine stories in the “pulps” and the “slicks” plus over a hundred novels since his first in 1936.

   Never a great literary stylist, Philips-Pentecost is often not readable, especially when his plot is weak. On the other hand, considering his prolificity, he has done some very good work, and one of his best recent Pentecost novels, Remember to Kill Me, has recently been reprinted by Worldwide Library in paperback.

   In a far from new plot device, terrorists take over the luxury Beaumont Hotel, holding hostages and planting bombs throughout the building. The Pentecost nuts-and-bolts prose works beautifully here as the suspense builds up while Pierre Chambrun tries to resolve matters without loss of life.

   The growth in books about what the television networks call “hostage situations” has led to this new sub-genre of the mystery, which I’ll call “howdoit,” depending upon how (if at all) the authorities will end a siege without loss of life. Remember to Kill Me is one of the best and most suspenseful of this new breed.

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

[UPDATE] 05-14-12.   Judson Philips died in 1989, at the age of 86, with one book published after his death. Pierre Chambrun, one of his most popular characters, appeared in 22 novels and one short story collection. For more about the author, his Wikipedia entry can be found here, and his page on the Golden Age of Detection wiki is here.