Reviewed by JEFF MEYERSON:

  RICHARD MARSTEN – Even the Wicked. Permabooks M3117, paperback original, 1958. Reprinted by Signet as by Ed McBain, paperback, 1977.

   Zach Blake and his nine year old daughter Penny return to Martha’s Vineyard, where his wife Mary, a championship swimmer, drowned the year before. It seems that Evelyn Cloud, an Indian, sent him a letter saying his wife’s death was not an accident.

   From the moment they reach the island, they are warned to leave; when Blake goes to see Evelyn Cloud, he finds her murdered, then Penny is kidnapped. What is the secret someone is so anxious to keep uncovered? Does it involve a Nike missile and spies, or something more prosaic?

   The characters aren’t particularly involving and the book is unexceptional, but it is a pleasant way to spend an hour or two.

RICHARD MARSTEN – Murder in the Navy. Gold Medal #507, paperback original, 1955. Reprinted by Gold Medal (T2466) as by Ed McBain, paperback, 1971; reprinted earlier by Permabooks (M4306) as Death of a Nurse, paperback, September 1964, as by Ed McBain, then later by Signet, paperback, 1976, also as by Ed McBain.

   A nurse is found strangled in the radar room of the U. S. S. Sykes. The list is quickly narrowed down to three suspects, and when one of them apparently commits suicide, the FBI is satisfied and closes the case. Lieutenant Chuck Masters of the Navy’s investigation board is not satisfied, however, as the drowned man was an expert swimmer.

   This is, for most of its length, a pretty good book using an unusual setting. Then it is all thrown away on an incredibly bad and stupid ending, using every damsel-in-deadly-peril and will-he-arrive-in-time cliche ever invented, like a bad episode of The Rookies.

   Also, McBain doesn’t play entirely fair with the readers, as he withholds important information, then throws it out at the finish. Too bad, as this could have been a much better book.

— Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 1, No. 4, July 1977.