ROY WINSOR – Three Motives for Murder. Ira Cobb #2. Fawcett Gold Medal, paperback original1st printing, July 1976.

   The first book in this “Ira Cobb” series, The Corpse That Walked, won an Edgar, for Best Paperback Mystery, I believe. In Mystery*File #3, I rated it as a C Plus. I’m out of step, I’m afraid, and am still not impressed.

   Professor Cobb’s “Watson” is young Ph.D. (in English) Steve Barnes, whose engagement party is disrupted by the discovery of the dead body of his future brother-in-law. A lot of dirty linen comes to light, and most everyone comes under suspicion, as Ned Penrose was one of those worthless, idle scoundrels even the best families try to hide.

   My objection in not in the padding (road-map directions between any two locales), or the ridiculous coincidences (disguised as “complex relationships”), but more in the fact that the police disappear completely from the scene, allowing Cobb to run the show on his own, interviewing witnesses, carrying evidence around with him the whole genteel amateur detective bit. It rubs me wrong.

Rating: C

–Very slightly revised from The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 1, No. 2, March 1977.


Bio-Bibliographic Update: There was a third book in the Ira Cobb series, that being Always Lock Your Bedroom Door (Gold Medal, 1976). As for the author, Roy Winsor, here’s an excerpt from his Wikipedia page:

   “He is most famous for creating some of the longest running soap operas in television history. Before he created television soap operas he wrote for many radio serials. He also produced the Western Have Gun – Will Travel for the radio. In 1951 he created the long-running soap opera Search for Tomorrow (1951-1986). For Search for Tomorrow, he first worked with fellow soap opera writer Agnes Nixon. The same year he created Love of Life (1951-1980). 3 years later he would create another long-running soap opera The Secret Storm (1954-1974). The year before The Secret Storm ended he would take over as head writer of the NBC soap opera Somerset, he wrote for the show from 1973 to 1974. In 1981 after a long break he returned to soap operas and co-created (with Bob Aaron) the serial Another Life (1981-1984) for CBN.”