William F. Deeck

SAM S. TAYLOR – Sleep No More. E. P. Dutton, hardcover, 1949. Signet #821, reprint paperback, October 1950.

Sam S. Taylor

   In Blood in Their Ink, Sutherland Scott gave high marks to this novel. Oh, sure, Scott himself wasn’t much of a writer, to give him praise beyond his due, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have good taste. Gee, if we went by the theory that it takes one to know one, readers struggling through one of my reviews might question my judgments.

   To make a short story long, Scott put me on to a good thing here. While it breaks no new ground, it does employ the best from the hard-boiled genre. Though not invariably excellent, the obligatory metaphors and similes are at least very good.

   Recently released from the Army, Neal Cotten has established his very own detective agency in Los Angeles, where it would seem from the literature there must have been a P.I. office in every block. Business is slow until Cotten gets a client who, suspecting blackmail, wants her daughter’s spending habits investigated.

   Before Cotten can turn up much information, the client’s daughter commits suicide, or so the official theory has it. With his ’35 Buick no longer fit for speed or hills, Cotten, who is in somewhat better shape, starts on the trail.

   An interesting character in Cotten and an engrossing picture of early postwar Los Angeles make me forgive the appearance of a silenced revolver.

— From The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 13, No. 1, Winter 1991.

       The Neal Cotten series —

Sleep No More. Dutton, 1949.
No Head for Her Pillow. Dutton, 1952.
So Cold, My Bed. Dutton, 1953.

   For much more about both Sam S. Taylor and his PI character, Neal Cotten, check out “The Compleat Sam S. Taylor,” posted on this blog back in 2007.