A Review by BILL CRIDER:

WILLIAM L. DeANDREA – The Hog Murders. Avon, paperback original, October 1979.

Nero Award 1979

   DeAndrea won an Edgar for his first novel (Killed in the Ratings) despite some dissenting opinion among mystery fans. (I liked it, but George Kelley hated it.) The Hog Murders seems a likely candidate for this year’s award for best paperback.

   In a snowbound city in New York State, someone who signs his letters HOG takes credit for a series of apparently unrelated deaths. When the local police are unable to make any headway, a world famous detective, Professor Niccolo Benedetti, is called in.

   He and his former student, Ron Gentry, now a private detective, team up with the police to investigate. Eventually, after following a number of false leads, they discover the solution to their problem.

   There are several things wrong with The Hog Murders. For one thing, the investigators overlook some indicators that are so obvious readers might feel irritation with the detectives’ stupidity. Nevertheless, I liked the book. The relationship between Benedetti and Gentry is well done (Wolfe and Archie are the obvious models), and several of the other characters are interesting (notably police inspector Fleisher).

   There are also a number of fair clues to HOG’s identity scattered here and, there. If this is the first book in a series, as it seems to be, DeAndrea may very well have found himself a successful formula.

— Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 3, No. 6, Nov-Dec 1979.

WILLIAM DeANDREA Werewolf Murders

Editorial Comments:   As Bill predicted, The Hog Murders did indeed win an Edgar award, as the Best Paperback Original Mystery, 1980.

   It took DeAndrea 13 years, however, to write two more books in the Niccolo Benedetti series: The Werewolf Murders (Doubleday, 1992) and The Manx Murders (Otto Penzler, 1994). Strangely enough neither of these two later books were reprinted in paperback.

   As Bill related in this earlier post, as a judge for the first “Nero” Award, The Hog Murders was one of three books he considered as runners-up to his first choice, Lawrence Block’s The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling.