BRUNO FISCHER – The Flesh Was Cold. Ben Helm #4, Signet $833; paperback, January 1951.  Previously published as The Angels Fell (Dodd Mead, hardcover, 1950).

   When Flagg finds the body of his ex-wife’s new husband in his closet, he doesn’t know if she’s trying to frame him or if she’s in even worse trouble. But what is troublesome is a missing briefcase, one important to too many people, including both gangsters and congressmen.

   Private eye Ben Helm has a bit part that almost steals the show, but it’s Flagg’s own perverse nature that most impresses. He hates ambitious women, but he may be falling in love with another. He refuses bribes, and refuses political pull in his behalf. Martha, his boss, loves him, and he tolerates it.

   A most· frustrating character and some unusual developments, to say the least, add immensely to an otherwise ordinary detective story.

Rating: B plus.

– Slightly revised from The MYSTERY FANcier, January 1977 (Vol. 1, No. 1)