William F. Deeck

LENORE GLEN OFFORD – Clues to Burn. Duell Sloane & Pearce, hardcover, 1942. Mercury Mystery #186, digest paperback, abridged, 1953.

   After the Electrical Dealers’ Convention, at which Bill Hastings discussed Priorities and Coco was an Electrical Widow, the two of them were looking forward to a quiet time on Sally Dudley’s rustic island — coal-oil lamps and outdoor plumbing — in a remote part of Idaho. Little did they know that others would show up to strain the food supply and the festivities and commit murder.

   Having investigated an earlier murder, Coco is eager, for the most part, to find out who killed the woman no one seemed to know. But, as the book’s title states, there are clues to burn — a bloody fingerprint, footprints, cigarette papers, etc. Is the murderer playing games with Coco, or is the shrewd killer planting, if such a thing can be done, red herrings?

   A fine husband-and-wife team in an amusing and richly clued — but which are real? — mystery.

— Reprinted from MYSTERY READERS JOURNAL, Vol. 6, No. 2, Summer 1990, “Vacation for Murder.”

Bio-Bibliographic Notes:   There was one earlier adventure of Bill and Coco Hastings, that being Murder on Russian Hill (Macrae-Smith, 1938). Besides writing six other mysteries, four of them with mystery writer turned amateur detective Todd McKinnon, Lenore Glen Offord was the mystery book critic for the San Francisco Chronicle for over 30 years.