JAMES KIERAN – Come Murder Me. Gold Medal #150, paperback original, 1951; #419, 2nd printing, 1954.

   Whee-eew. Here’s the kind of story that simply takes your breath away, for sheer audacity of plot, if nothing else. A man with a split personality — the kind that kicks up on him whenever his lady friend walks out on him — blanks out and hires an unknown killer. The target: himself.

   There’s another girl in the story. She’s a witness to a cop killing in California, and she’s got a gunman on her trail, too. Guess whose apartment she takes refuge in? The tangled plot lines are told in a pulpy sort of fashion and are great fun, but I also have to add that there aren’t any great surprises either.

FOOTNOTE:   This is the same John Kieran who was the brother of Helen Reilly, and who is described in Barzun & Taylor as a journalist and radio star. This was his only crime novel. [He died the year after this book was published.] It might also be worth pointing out that two of Reilly’s daughters were Ursula Curtiss and Mary McMullen. I wonder what the family talked about at the breakfast table.

–Reprinted from Mystery*File #18, December 1989, very slightly revised.

[UPDATE] 11/20/18.   Observant readers of this blog will immediately recognize that the basic plot line is the same as that of Paid to Kill, the movie reviewed just before this one. Believe it or not, this was almost entirely coincidental.