THOMAS B. BLACK – The 3-13 Murders. Al Delaney #2. Reynal & Hitchcock, hardcover, 1946. Bestseller Mystery #151, paperback, date? Jonathan Press Mystery, paperback, date?

   Al Delaney, a private detective, is hired to clear a bank president of murder when a Jane Doe is found stabbed to death in his home.

    The “3-13” in the title refers to the numbers that dealers use to refer to cocaine and morphine. The third letter of the alphabet is ‘C’ for cocaine, and the 13th is ‘M’ for morphine.

   There’s a quack of a religious leader, “The Great I-Give” who has a team of proselytizers distributing copies of his religious newspaper through town. For a reason that seems more than just coincidence, a trail of drug addiction and murder follows the same trail as the newspaper distribution of the “The Great I-Give”.

   The feds, the cops and Delaney converge with guns a-blazing on the mobsters, the junkies and the religious freaks that have brought mayhem to town.

   It’s an enjoyable hardboiled romp with all the trimmings. Another off of James Sandoe’s reliable 1952 hardboiled checklist. at The physical copies of the Delaney books are scarce, so I read the book online at

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      The Al Delaney series —

The Whitebird Murders. Reynal, 1946.
The 3-13 Murders. Reynal, 1946.
The Pinball Murders. Reynal, 1947.
Four Dead Mice. Rinehart, 1954.