CURT SIODMAK – Whomsoever I Shall Kiss. Crown Publishers, hardcover, 1952. Paperback reprint: Dell 756, 1954.

CURT SIODMAK Whomsoever I Shall Kiss

   Quite without meaning to, I read two novels of Romantic Suspense last year. Curt Siodmak’s Whomsoever I Shall Kiss was the first, and it starts off well, with Royal Ludovici, a former small-time grifter and guy-with-a-funny-name, who lives by making himself useful to the very rich.

   In Italy to find proof of an heiress’s death (and thereby speed an inheritance to a distant relation), Royal finds the heiress very much alive and maybe suffering from amnesia or maybe not.

   Well, Royal is suave, good-looking and unattached, the heiress is lovely, lonely and broken-hearted, so the only question for Royal is whether to get her to marry him, then tell her she’s wealthy, or to make sure that reports of her death weren’t so far wrong after all.

   It’s a nice set-up for a story, and I expected to see something interesting spun out of it by a hack with Siodmak’s credentials, but he doesn’t do much with it; in fact, he does practically nothing at all. Pages go by filled with sight-seeing, passionate embraces, tearful farewells, torrid embraces and even a bit from The Wolfman, all to very little effect. By the time Siodmak tacked an unsatisfactory ending on, I wasn’t even interested enough to be disappointed.