JOHN STEPHEN STRANGE – The Clue of the Second Murder. Van Dusen Ormsberry #2. Doubleday Crime Club, hardcover, 1929. Grosset & Dunlap, hardcover reprint (cover shown).

   When this book was written (60 years ago!), Philo Vance was all the rage, and in the same pattern is fastidious gentleman detective Van Dusen Ormsberry, whose second recorded case this is. Assisting him is his 13-year-old protégé, the freckle-faced Bill Adams.

   While the book is readable, the telling is flawed, and Ormsberry does very little in the way of detecting. He is a bad judge of character, and allowing young Bill to assist leads to an even greater error on his part. His career was over after only one more book.

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

        The Van Dusen Ormsberry series —

The Man Who Killed Fortescue. Doubleday 1928
The Clue of the Second Murder. Doubleday 1929
Murder on the Ten-Yard Line. Doubleday 1931

[UPDATE] 11-28-18.   Time does not stand still. It’s now been almost 90 years since this book was written, very near a relic — but not a forgotten one. There is currently a POD edition published by, apparently from a source in the UK. I don’t know if how interested anyone (including myself) would be after reading review above, but as a note to myself, I did say it was readable.

   I did not say much about the plot, so I went looking, and I found this description of the book online:

   “After leaving his sisters opulent Garden Party in 1927 Greenwich, Connecticut a naval inventor is shot dead while driving his Packard down a country lane beside the estate. Bill Adams, teen sleuth, begins the investigation, calling his friend, Detective Van Dusen Ormsberry home from his vacation in France to prevent an unjust conviction. Ormsberry must wade through the accused’s past political scandal; the torrid love triangle of the accused, the stage actress and the victim; and the post-World War I International espionage ring he discovers to find the actual murderer.”