GEORGE HARMON COXE – The Glass Triangle. Alfred A Knopf, hardcover, 1940. Dell #81, paperback, mapback edition, 1945; Dell #522, [1951], mapback. Jonathon Press Mystery #J23, digest pb, [1947]. Contained in Triple Exposure (with The Jade Venus and The Fifth Key), Knopf, hardcover, 1959.

    This is vintage Coxe, written while he was still fresh from toiling a decade or more for Black Mask and other pulps. I’ve never been sure why he switched to Kent Murdock as the detective in his early novels, rather than continue with Flashgun Casey, as they tend to blur in my mind into the same character, the tough successful news photographer who continually finds himself involved in murder.

    In this one Murdock introduces the sister of an old friend to a Hollywood crowd in town for a movie premiere, then feels it’s his obligation to protect her when the director, unliked by all, is murdered in his hotel room. There’s no moral consideration involved, just a newspaperman’s curiosity and what he owes on a promise to a friend.

    So, OK, call him medium-boiled. Coxe’s heroes are people who stick up for each other, easily inspire trust and confidence, and who are maybe just a little soft at heart.

    A piece of glass is the only tangible evidence Murdock has after the corpse disappears and his photographic plates are stolen, but only the careful reader will spot the additional clues Coxe slips in. I did name the killer, but that’s about all. The only question left unanswered is why the supremely detestable director was along on the junket in the first place.

— Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 1, No. 5, September 1977 (very slightly revised).