C. FRASER-SIMSON – Footsteps in the Night. Methuen, UK, hardcover. 1926,. E. P. Dutton, US, hardcover, 1927. Film: ATP, 1931; released in the UK as A Honeymoon Adventure (with Benita Hume and Peter Hannen, co-screenwriter: John Paddy Carstairs).

   My first thought when I picked this off the shelf to read was that that the title sounded familiar. The same as one of the early Hardy Boys adventures I read when I was young, maybe? I also did not recognize the name of the author, nor do I imagine that many of you reading this do either. (But I’ve been wrong in making statements such as this before, and to my regret, and I should stop making them.)

   It turns out that the author was the second wife (nee Cicely Devenish) of English composer Harold Fraser-Simson, noted for his many works of light music, including musical comedies, and setting children poems to music, especially those of A. A. Milne (of Winnie the Pooh fame).

   There is not a lot of mystery involved in this book. It is an out-and-out thriller from beginning to end, one in which the villain is known to Peter Martin, one of the book’s two young married protagonists, almost as soon as his villainy begins.

   When a book begins with a husband being chided by his wife, in this case, the boyishly beautiful Eve Martin, for shutting her completely out of his professional affairs, you just know that something is going to happen to prove how right she is, and how wrong he was.

   They are vacationing in Scotland before Peter has to present some essential papers to a conference in London, when he is unexpectedly called away, leaving her alone is their rather large manor home. Due to a mixup, he does not have the papers with him, and when his abductors discover that he does not have them, they realize that it is Eve who is their real target.

   Hence the tale, told alternately between the predicaments and perils our intrepid married couple fall into, all of which constitute the entirety of the book. I enjoy these kind of stories, maybe more than I really ought to, but even I had to cringe a bit when one especially narrow escape for Peter occurs when the carriage is riding in with his captors crashes and overturns, allowing him, as the only one conscious, to make his way to a final reunion with Eve,

   I apologize if I’ve given too much away. I hope it won’t spoil too much of your pleasure in reading this, if indeed it is your cup of tea and if it ever finds its way into your hands.