DONALD CLOUGH CAMERON – Death at Her Elbow. Henry Holt & Co., hardcover, 1940. Green Dragon #20, digest paperback, circa 1945-46, abridged.

   After the suicide death of her New York City roommate, Ann Porter fled to the West Coast to get away from the memories. Returning after a year’s absence, she thinks the memories have faded, but not only is she wrong about that, but the body of the man who at the root of Jenny’s death is found murdered in Ann’s bedroom, hit over the head by a heavy statue in the shape of a cat.

   Investigating the murder is homicide detective Peter Gore, whose only appearance in print this seems to be. The story does not follow Gore’s footsteps through the case, but Ann’s, who fears that her former boy friend, who has waited faithfully for her, committed the crime, whereas – you guessed – he thinks she did it.

   This complicates matters, of course, at least as far as Ann and Alec are concerned. Gore – and this is rather surprising – looks kindly upon the pair of lovers and does his best not to suspect either one. But what this means is that are two major themes to Death at Her Elbow. One, the romance, and secondly, the mystery.

   Luckily the mystery does not take a total second shrift. The problem is, as far as solving the murder is concerned, is that there are just a few too many suspects (although at least one is an out-and-out ringer) and not quite enough clues. As for me, I could have done with less romance, but Cameron was a decent writer, describing the characters and capturing the setting well, and I enjoyed this one.

   Cameron wrote a total of six mysteries between 1939 and 1947, three of them starring a chap named Abelard Voss, about whom Wikipedia says was a “young criminologist and detective … who liked to take philosophical reflections during his investigations.” He also wrote extensively for the comic books. I found this interesting enough that I’m going to quote liberally from his Wikipedia page:

   “Cameron made several notable contributions to the Batman mythos. The story “Here Comes Alfred!” in Batman #16 (April–May 1943) by Cameron and Bob Kane introduced Alfred as Bruce Wayne’s butler. Cameron co-created Tweedledum and Tweedledee in Detective Comics #74 (April 1943) and the Cavalier in Detective Comics #81 (Nov. 1943). His story “Brothers in Crime!” in Batman #12 (Aug.–Sept. 1942) featured “Batman’s Hall of Trophies” a precursor to the Batcave, which debuted in Detective Comics #83 (Jan. 1944). Cameron and Win Mortimer created Batman’s Batboat in Detective Comics #110 (April 1946). In addition, Cameron was one of the writers of the Batman comic strip for the McClure Newspaper Syndicate.

   “His work on Superman includes creating the Toyman in Action Comics #64 (Sept. 1943) and writing the earliest Superboy stories in More Fun Comics.

   “Cameron created Liberty Belle in Boy Commandos #1 (Winter 1942) and Pow Wow Smith in Detective Comics #151 (Sept. 1949). He was one of the writers of DC’s Hopalong Cassidy licensed series based on the film and TV Western hero. Other comic book work by Cameron includes Aquaman, Congo Bill, and the Western character Nighthawk.”