GEOFFREY HOMES – The Man Who Murdered Himself. William Morrow, hardcover, 1936. Avon, no number [#18], paperback, 1942.


   Working for a missing persons outfit specializing in lost heirs is a cutthroat business, at the fringe of legal niceties, requiring a stretch of the truth now and then, with a little money every so often into the right hands.

   So we meet Robin Bailey, ex-newspaperman, on a case of either suicide or murder — death by personal pollution of a local reservoir.

   Crackling dialogue and a twisting, turning plot, but short but effective glimpses of character and existence in the 1930 leave us wanting more in that regard, while Homes concentrates on the story. Bishop himself finds his work increasingly distasteful and begins to wonder why he never before noticed the office secretary.

   The secondary characters, understated, unobtrusive, are even more memorable, exemplified by the sorrow displayed by the victim’s landlady. I believe this to be Homes’ first book. He’s worth looking into as a writer.

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

   Bibliographic Data:

      The Robin Bishop series

    The Doctor Died at Dusk (n.) Morrow 1936.
    The Man Who Murdered Himself (n.) Morrow 1936.


    The Man Who Didn’t Exist (n.) Morrow 1937.
    The Man Who Murdered Goliath (n.) Morrow 1938.


    Then There Were Three (n.) Morrow 1938.

   The latter is a crossover novel with the detective duties shared by Homes’ other major series character, PI Humphrey Campbell, who also works for the Morgan Missing Persons Bureau detective agency.

       The Humphrey Campbell series —

    Then There Were Three (n.) Morrow 1938.
    No Hands on the Clock (n.) Morrow 1939.


    Finders Keepers (n.) Morrow 1940.
    Forty Whacks (n.) Morrow 1941.
    Six Silver Handles (n.) Morrow 1944.

   Homes also wrote two novels in which Mexican policeman Jose Manuel Madero was the primary detective:

    The Street of the Crying Woman (n.) Morrow 1942.
    The Hill of the Terrified Monk (n.) Morrow 1943.

and one standalone:

    Build My Gallows High (n.) Morrow, 1946.


   But if anything, either under his own name, Daniel Mainwaring, or as Geoffrey Homes, his list of credits is even longer on IMDB as a screenwriter.

   Previously on this blog:

  Forty Whacks.     [A 1001 Midnights review by Bill Pronzini.]
  Crime by Night, based on Forty Whacks.     [A film review by Steve Lewis.]