William F. Deeck

HERBERT ADAMS – Victory Song. Collins Crime Club, UK, 1943. Paperback reprint: Collins White Circle Services Edition, UK, 1946. No US edition.


   In his efforts to mobilize the power of prayer to make England victorious over the Germans and Japanese, the Reverend Gordon Arnold, the Mad Padre, has enlisted the aid of Edward Dalton, an American with a fine voice and the ability to write stirring hymns. One night Dalton disappears, leaving behind him without a word of explanation his sixteen-year-old daughter.

   Because Roger Bennion’s chief in the Secret Service is the Mad Padre’s cousin, Bennion is asked to quietly investigate the disappearance. In doing so, Bennion discovers that a great deal more is going on in the Bristopool area than a mere missing religious figure.

   As Bennion’s information increases, the reader may tend to mutter about coincidence and unlikelihood and needless complexity. Still, one does want to finish the novel to see how Bennion sorts it all out, which should be any author’s goal.

   A “time passer” is how I would describe the book, with nothing invidious intended.

– From The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 13, No. 3, Summer 1992.

Editorial Comments:   This is a scarce book. There is one copy of the paperback edition offered for sale on, for example, and two of the hardcover, both in the $145-160 range. Some of Adams’ mysteries, just over fifty or so, were published in the US, but most were not.

   Roger Bennion was Adams’ most commonly used series character. For more about him, read Mary Reed’s review of Death of a Viewer, which appeared here earlier on this blog. Following the review is a complete list of all of the Bennion books. (Adams is perhaps most noted for his golfing mysteries, eight of them in all, with some overlap with the Bennion books.)

   Also of note, in case you missed it: thanks to Jamie Sturgeon, considerable information has been discovered about Beryl Whitaker, author of four detective novels published in the UK in the 1960s, one of which Bill Deeck reviewed here not too long ago. Three of the covers have been added to the review and bibliography, along with a series of updates about the author herself.