HELEN McCLOY – Do Not Disturb. William Morrow, hardcover, 1943. Tower Books, hardcover reprint, 1945. Dell #261, paperback [mapback edition]; no date stated [1948].

   When Edith Talbot knocks on the door of the hotel room in which she hears someone frantically sobbing, she can’t imagine what kind of trouble she’s about to get into. The very next day she finds a dead man in her room, and she flees, thinking shes been framed for murder, and that the police are behind it.

   This may sound like an awfully weak premise upon which to base a book, but keep in mind that this was wartime, and everyone’s nerves were on edge. I’d never thought of Helen McCloy as a fine writer before, but after the detailed paces she puts poor Mrs. Talbot through, I’m a believer.

   The story’s dated and flawed by three huge coincidences, but if you’re in the right kind of mood for it, this crisp little detective thriller still has what it takes to make an impact today.

— Reprinted from Nothing Accompliced #4, November 1993, with revisions.