A 1001 MIDNIGHTS Review
by Bill Crider:


RICHARD DEMING – Anything But Saintly. Permabook M-4286, paperback original; 1st printing, August 1963.

   Richard Deming wrote original mysteries and novelizations of numerous TV series, including two books based on Dragnet. The two Dragnet books appeared in 1958 and 1959 and perhaps led to Deming’s writing his own police procedural series in the early 1960s.

   Although the series was only two books, it was competently written and entertaining. The setting of both books is the riverside city of St. Cecelia, and the first-person narrator is Sergeant Matt Rudd (real name Mateusz Rudowski), a member of the city’s Vice Squad.

   In Anything but Saintly, a businessman visiting the city is rolled by a prostitute and robbed of $500. Rudd and his partner, Carl Lincoln, set out to recover the money, only to find that the girl was murdered shortly after returning to her apartment.


   Being a member of the Vice Squad does not keep Rudd from getting involved in the killing, because an attempt is soon made on his own life. What looked at first like a simple case suddenly escalates into something more, with a heavily protected procurer and a big-time politico getting dragged in.

   The procedural details, including the peculiar workings of the St. Cecelia Police Department, are well done, and the story is terse and fast, with a good depiction of a racket-ridden city and how it is run.

   Matt Rudd appears again in Death of a Pusher (1964). An equally good, but very different, paperback original by Deming is Edge of the Law (1960). He also created a one-armed private detective, Manville Moon, who appears in three novels published in the early 1950s, beginning with The Gallows in My Garden (1952).


   Other of his mysteries appeared under the pseudonym Max Franklin, notably Justice Has No Sword (1953).

   Reprinted with permission from 1001 Midnights, edited by Bill Pronzini & Marcia Muller and published by The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, 2007.   Copyright © 1986, 2007 by the Pronzini-Muller Family Trust.

Editorial Comment: Unknown to Bill or anyone else at the time 1001 Midnights was published, Matt Rudd had appeared in one other novel, Vice Cop, published in 1961 by Belmont Books, a small and mostly obscure company known today by only the most dedicated of collectors.