LEONARD LUPTON – Murder Without Tears. Graphic #149, paperback original; 1st printing, 1957. Cover art by Roy Lance.

   I don’t know why I should be the one to bring this up, but some of you who’ve been following this blog for a while now just might remember a pledge I made toward the beginning of the year,something along the lines of my reading more Gold Medal paperbacks in 2015, and reporting back on them here.

   I didn’t get to far with that idea, did I? I’m sorry, and I apologize. Here it is the end of September, though, and I think there’s still time to redeem myself. Or in other words, I’m aware of the problem, and I’m working on it.

   That I’m reviewing this book by Leonard Lupton means I’m getting close, but I’m not there yet. Graphic Books published a lot of hard-boiled crime and detective material in the short period of time they were around, but I’ve always gotten the sense that in terms of their paperback originals, they and Ace got what Gold Medal turned down.

   There isn’t a lot of new ground that ends up being covered in Murder Without Tears, but after an opening that’s slow to get started, the rest of the early going has its moments. After the War (Korea) Jason Broome came back to his home town, determined to make good. Born on the wrong side of the tracks, figuratively speaking, he now owns a home on the heights above the river that once belonged to the man who owned the plant where Broome’s father worked for most of his life.

   Problem is, it’s been turned into a gin mill. A high-toned gin mill, but still a dive, at least in some people’s minds. Enter the girl. Anne Cramer grew up playing with the daughter of the man who used to own the house, but once they’ve met, she and Jason seem to get along fine. A friend of her father’s comes to Jason and tells him to leave it off with Anne.

   And he ends up dead. Coming to Jason’s rescue is Anne. They spent the night together, she says. Jason is relieved, but he soon realizes that Anne has provided herself a nice alibi as well.

   So far, so good, but while the story doesn’t go downhill, exactly, it sort of stagnates from here. It’s told by someone who knows his way around words, though, making me wonder why this is the only story like this Leonard Lupton wrote under his own name. (He wrote a half an Ace Double as by Chester Warwick, and eight romantic suspense novels in the 80s as by Mary Lupton.)