by William R. Loeser

CAROLYN WELLS The Tannahill Tangle

CAROLYN WELLS – The Tannahill Tangle. J. B. Lippincott, US/UK, hardcover, 1928.

   I can’t remember who killed whom in Carolyn Wells’ The Tannahill Tangle, nor have I any desire to look it up.

   The feature that sticks in my mind is the two well-to-do couples who are the main characters. They are engaging in spouse-swapping, and, when one of them is killed, the perceptive reader might feel that the inherent frictions of this diversion have some bearing on the crime.

   But no, the survivors and Ms. Wells take great pains to assure themselves, each other, and us that they are too “well-bred” for such messy sports as murder. Fleming Stone is called in and, as I recall, is able to find someone of less-illustrious parentage and prospects to pin the rap on.

   Fortunately, I had only this one book of Ms. Wells to get rid of. It is a reminder I will not soon forget that the Golden Age produced the worst clinkers as well as the masterpieces of detective fiction.

From The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 3, No. 2, Mar-Apr 1979       (very slightly revised).