William F. Deeck

LAWRENCE G. BLOCHMAN See You at the Morgue

  LAWRENCE G. BLOCHMAN – See You at the Morgue. Duell Sloan & Pearce, hardcover, 1941; Dell #7, no date [1943]; Dell #638, paperback, no date [1952]. Both paperbacks are mapback editions.

   Vivian Sanderson is marking time working as a “phantom secretary” — those who not only take phone messages but “give out price quotations, take accident reports at night for insurance companies, accept orders.” Sanderson gets an unusual message for her cousin, Penelope Dunne, suggesting that Dunne leave town because something is going to happen to her “white-haired boy.”

   The next day, Dunne’s former boyfriend, a noted playboy, is found shot to death in her apartment. Sanderson, natural!y — where else would she be in a mystery? — is on the premises when the body is discovered by her boy-friend, who most unsatisfactorily tries to cover up her presence.

LAWRENCE G. BLOCHMAN See You at the Morgue

   Sanderson is an intelligent, level-headed female for the most part. But the author feels it necessary to make her, in a term presently making the political rounds, a “useful idiot.” Blochman has her do things that she definitely ought not, such as receive a message from someone who may be the killer and then go dashing off to make the appointment suggested. This leads to her nearly getting run over in the subway.

   The best of the book, and worth reading it for, is the police-procedural part, featuring Kenneth Kilkenny, Detective First Grade. Kilkenny is an interesting character and a good investigator. It’s a pity that Blochman didn’t devote more of the novel to Kilkenny and less to the damsel-in-distress-boyfriend-somewhat-to-the-rescue theme.

— From The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 10, No. 1, Winter 1988.

Bibliographic Note:   Kenneth Kilenny made a second appearance in Death Walks in Marble Halls. Dell 10 Cent Edition #19, 1951. (First published in The American Magazine, September 1942.)