William F. Deeck

JOSHUA WILLARD The Thorne Theater Mystery

JOSHUA WILLARD – The Thorne Theater Mystery. Phoenix Press, hardcover, 1937. Reprint paperback: Prize Mystery novel #25, digest-sized, 1944, condensed.

   In upper New York State lies the town of Thorne, which contains the Thorne Theater and the last of the male Thomes with a pitch fork stuck in him. The show — an amateur production of Laugh, Lou, Laugh — must go on while Doctor Glover, the town’s coroner, investigates with the unhelpful assistance of the editor of the town’s newspaper.

   Despite what I would, to be overly considerate, describe as the author’s efforts to conceal the information, the murderer is evident almost throughout the novel.

JOSHUA WILLARD The Thorne Theater Mystery

   Go see Laugh, Lou, Laugh, and ignore the book, an even more dreadful amateur production than the show must have been.

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

Editorial Comments:   According to the Revised Crime Fiction IV, by Allen J. Hubin, this is the only mystery novel that the author Joshua Willard wrote.

   I don’t know if it makes any difference, but I suspect it may have been the abridged edition that Bill read and reported on, but perhaps not. The mystery fiction published by Phoenix Press was, let’s face it, less than average, to put it kindly, by any standard or norm in place at the time or since.

   Follow the link above to Bill Pronzini’s well-known and very enjoyable essay on Phoenix Press and the brand of lending-library mystery fiction they published.