William F. Deeck

EDITH HOWIE – No Face to Murder. M. S. Mill, US, hardcover, 1946. TV Boardman, UK, paperback, 1946.

   As the choir of the St. Thomas Episcopal Church is finishing its practice session, Miss Tess King, a chorister and the church secretary, discovers in trying to recover her dropped anthem that her hand is soaked with blood. A body is subsequently located with its throat slit, and then another is found that has been murdered the same way.

   From the evidence, it would seem that a choir member or the organist, who had a tendency not to follow the score but to let the choir follow him, must have done the killings. All, of course, have something to hide.

   Miss King is a passable narrator and a sensible person, except when the author turns her temporarily into a Gothic idiot. Ran Garrison, the police investigator and Miss King’s boyfriend, is a competent but dull investigator. Only when Bishop Walters shows up midway in the novel does it take on any life.

   Unfortunately, he gets bopped on the head by someone who may be the murderer and decides, wisely for him but not for the reader, to end his career as a sleuth almost as soon as it was begun.

   Hubin’s bibliography says that this novel is set in Missouri. I haven’t figured out how this was ascertained.

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

Bibliographic Notes:   Edith Howie, dates uncertain, was the author of seven crime novels written between 1941 and 1946. A complete list may be found here. A short synopsis and review of No Face to Murder that appeared in The Saturday Review may be seen here.