GYPSY ROSE LEE The G-String Murder

GYPSY ROSE LEE – The G-String Murder. Avon T258, reprint paperback, 1958. Hardcover edition: Simon & Schuster, 1941. Also published as: Lady of Burlesque, Tower, hardcover, 1942. Other paperback reprints include: Pocket #425, 1947; Pop. Library Eagle A3635, 1954; Penguin, 1984; The Feminist Press at CUNY, 2005. Possibly ghost-written by Craig Rice. Film: United Artists, 1943, as Lady of Burlesque, with Barbara Stanwyck as Dixie Daisy.

   The famous stripper helps solve two “impossible” crimes occurring in the rundown burlesque theater where she’s appearing. While extremely mild today, for 1941 this book must have been something else, bawdier and racier than almost anything — except for Thorne Smith’s “Topper” books, of course. The detective work which fills the second half is awfully weak, though — both confused and confusing.

GYPSY ROSE LEE The G-String Murder

COMMENT: I’ve re-read the final couple of chapters a couple of times now, and I’ve finally decided it’s just not worth the effort.

   I’m not alone, either. Because of the locked room aspects, the book is included in Bob Adey’s book on the same, but when it comes to an explanation, here’s what he says: “The solution could be a second door, an open window, or simply the removal and replacement of the original seal — take your pick.”

   I didn’t read any of this in the book I read. [WARNING] What I thought happened was that the body was put into the room before the wax seal was put on the lock. The second murder, with the body found inside a locked prop room, has an even simpler solution. The killer had a key. (Bob Adey doesn’t even mention this one.)

— Reprinted from Mystery*File #35, November 1993.

[UPDATE] 05-26-10.   The comment above was published at the same time (and place) as the review. I didn’t go into the provenance of the book then, but Bill Deeck did when he also reviewed the book, a review that will be posted next.