ROBERT TURNER The Girl in the Cop's Pocket

ROBERT TURNER – The Girl in the Cop’s Pocket. Ace Double D-177; paperback original; 1st printing, 1956. Published Published dos-à-dos with Violence Is Golden, by C. H. Thames (Stephen Marlowe).

   When an old girl friend is accused of killing her wealthy husband with a method from one of his mystery yarns, ex-newspaperman Will Dennison heads back to the old mill town he grew up in. It’s a town on the way down; labor problems have forced the mills to head south. All that remain are the cheap hotels, the ramshackle homes of the unemployed, and cops who don’t care.

   Dennison investigates and finds at the root a blonde who was forced to grow up too fast. (Why is the worst expected of the most beautiful?) The town is gross, but its inhabitants deserve it. So much for nostalgia!

   Only a rather melodramatic finale brings the rating down. In The Girl in the Cop’s Pocket Turner tells a fast-paced tale.

Rating:   C plus.

— From Mystery*File #9, Vol. 2, No. 2, Spring 1976 (slightly revised).

[UPDATE] 02-19-11. Robert Turner wrote a long list of stories for the detective pulps before they died out and he had to turn to paperbacks to continue writing. He has four novels in the Revised Crime Fiction IV under his own name, including this one, and one story collection.

   As Don Romano he co-authored three of the five books in a Mafia series beginning with Operation Porno (1973), and ghosted two “Shaft” paperback originals under the name of the author who created the character, Ernest Tidyman.

   On another note, I’ve always been fond of mystery novels in which the primary detective is the author of the same. Who was the first? How about the first one in which one of the author’s stories was used as the basis of a crime?