William F. Deeck

KELLEY ROOS – Ghost of a Chance. A. A Wyn, hardcover, 1947. Detective Book Club, hardcover reprint, 3-in-1 edition, 1947. Dell #266, paperback, mapback edition, no date [1948?].

   For those who have read all the Mr. and Mrs. North novels, including the couple put aside for emergencies, a dip into the works of Kelley Roos relating the adventures of Jeff and Haila Troy should be next on the agenda.

   While the novels are not as complexly plotted as the ones featuring the Norths and the Troys are not as sophisticated a married couple, the books are a great deal of fun.

   In this novel Jeff gets a call from a Mr. Lorimer saying that some woman is going to be murdered shortly. Trying to keep Haila from getting involved is futile, of course, so he and she chase from bar to bar trying to find Lorimer. Eventually, Lorimer gets shoved in front of a subway train without revealing who is going to be killed.

   Thus the Troy’s have to find the woman among New York City’s three million females. They can be reasonably sure it isn’t Haila or Haila’s Aunt Ellie, a delightful character, but that’s about it.

   When Jeff and Haila try to check into an inn, the innkeeper suspects their bona fides since they have no luggage. Haila explains: “I am a milliner’s model. In the off season I model foundation garments and do a little stag party work. I am determined that my young brother shall the have the education I was denied….”

   How can one not adore such a woman, as long, of course, as one doesn’t have to associate with her in public?

— Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 11, No. 3, Summer 1989.

Editorial Comment: I reviewed this same book by Kelley Roos just over a year ago on this blog. You can find my comments here.