KELLEY ROOS – Ghost of a Chance. Haila & Jeff Troy #6. A. A. Wyn, hardcover, 1947. Detective Book Club, hardcover, 3-in-1 edition. Dell #266, paperback, mapback edition, 1948. Armed Forces Edition #1292, paperback, no date stated. Film: As Scent of Mystery, 1960, without the Troys. Novelization of film: As Scent of Mystery (Dell, paperback, 1959), reset in Spain.

   After a telephone message from a stranger warns Jeff Troy that a woman is about to be murdered, he and his wife Haila head out in a snowstorm to meet him, but (of course) they arrive too late. The man is dead. Who is the woman he warned Jeff about, and can they find her in time?

   A suspenseful book, but it’s of the artificially produced variety that leaves you hungry an hour later. Jeff and Haila are a fun couple, however, modeled, no doubt, on Nick and Nora Charles. A cheerfully lighthearted story, just an inch this side of silly.     (**)


(**)   Just what it is that Jeff Troy does for a living is never made quite clear. Apparently he dabbles a bit in photography, but why the former coachman decided to call on him with his warning was something that puzzled me all through the book. Since this wasn’t the first of the Troys’ adventures, though, I finally decided they had made the newspapers after one of their earlier cases. (Why Haila was allowed to tag along was something else that was never explained very well either.)

–Reprinted in slightly revised form from Mystery*File #16, October 1989.