William F. Deeck

CAROL KENDALL – The Black Seven. Harper & Brothers, hardcover, 1946. John Lane/The Bodley Head, UK, hc, 1950.


   First of all, Tobias Twigg was too mean to commit suicide. He also enjoyed his family, particularly tormenting them and observing how Twigg-like they were turning out to be. But die of poison by his own hand he did, or so the authorities conclude.

   Five years later, Casper Twigg, following closely in his father’s footsteps, gathers the more or less odious Twigg family together to announce that he has been accumulating “the follies, the foibles, the flagrancies — or better still, the outcroppings of Twiggisms.”

   He is particularly interested in the disappearance of the Seven Black Babies, whatever they may have been, following his father’s death.

   Roderick Random — no, not that Roderick Random — twelve years old, exceedingly precocious, and better known as “Drawers,” has set up a home away from home in a shed on the Twigg Terrace property. Thus he is involved in the excitement and the deaths caused by Casper Twiggs’s embracing of a new way to amuse himself.

   Indeed, Drawers finds the first corpse on his adopted premises and discovers the meaning of the Seven Black Babies.

   Drawers unmasks, almost literally, a murderer in this well written and amusing novel. The author is convincing in her portrayal of Drawers’s intelligence, along with the youth’s corresponding lack of common sense.

   However, some doubts, at least on this reader’s part, do arise in regard to the boy’s keen interest in pornography and corresponding apparent uninterest in and possibly repugnance to sex.

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

    Bibliography:    [Taken from the Revised Crime Fiction IV, by Allen J. Hubin.]

KENDALL, CAROL (Seegar). 1917- . Series character: Roderick “Drawers” Random. Setting in each: Ohio.

       The Black Seven (n.) Harper 1946; Lane, 1950.
       The Baby-Snatcher (n.) Lane 1952.

   From Contemporary Authors:

    “Carol Kendall is best known for her award-winning children’s books The Gammage Cup and The Firelings. A writer with diverse interests and abilities, Kendall has collaborated with Yao-wen Li on translations of Chinese folktales in Sweet and Sour: Tales from China and has retold six stories of Japanese origin in Haunting Tales from Japan.”