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“One always embarks on a John Rhode book with a great sense of security. One knows that there will be a sound plot, well-knit process of reasoning, and a solidly satisfying solution with no loose ends or careless errors of fact.”—Dorothy Sayers
The Bloody Tower
Death on the
Death Sits on
Lays a Trap
The Harvest Murder
Murder at Lilac
John Dickson Carr
And So to Murder
John Dickson Carr
The Judas Window
“Mr. Carr can lead us away from the small, artificial world of the ordinary detective plot into the menace of outer darkness. ... In short he can write. Every sentence gives a thrill of positive pleasure.”—Dorothy Sayers
The Corpse with
the Eerie Eye
The Late Unlamented
“R. A. J. Walling may well be called the dean of
British mystery authors.”—Will Cuppy
Coming soon: Walling's A Corpse by Any Other Name
Carr & Rhode (Cecil Street)
Walling, The Corpse with the Eerie Eye
(Published in the United Kingdom as Castle-Dinas) Coming soon to iTunes and Google Play
“Beautiful structure of mystery and bafflement.”—The New York Times
From the jacket: “There was mystery rampant in Castle-Dinas, although Tolefree at first didn't recognize it. He thought he was there to straighten out a lovers’ quarrel—until the telephone rang at dinner that night and turned a gay and charming atmosphere into one resembling a wake. Mrs. Lowell returned to the table with her face strained beyond her well-carried years. Mr. Lowell retired dejectedly into a shell. And Katherine, their daughter, became tense and distraught.
Later at Dr. Mapperley’s, a succession of peculiar sounds kept Tolefree on his feet most of the night—to the obvious dismay of Peter, the nautical butler. And then they found the corpse—the corpse with a vacant stare and pupils the size of a pin-point. ...
Mr. Walling is noted not only for his excellent plots, but his subtle characterizations and portrayal of English country life. The picture of Castle-Dinas, situated on the rolling moors of Devonshire, and its leisurely way of life are pleasing highlights in this mystery from the pen of a master craftsman.”
“Intricately plotted and logically solved.”—The Saturday Review “English, equable and equitable.”—Kirkus
Walling, The Late Unlamented
Coming soon to iTunes and Google Play
“Gets going full speed with customary Tolefree aplomb, shrewdness, and bafflement.”—The Saturday Review
From the jacket: Philip Tolefree returns from the war to the most baffling case of his career.
The trouble began over money. Frederick Trivett, squire of Porthgover, wanted it; his beautiful wife Emily had it; their charming daughter, Margaret, was going to get it.
The trouble came to a head with the influx of newcomers to the village. There were the Vanes, recluse widow and morose, tongue-tied son—both of obscure origin; the couple named Standish who seemed much better suited to big-city life than to a remote farm in the country; Dr. Colin Duncan, ostensibly there on the district’s hush-hush project, but privately a man with an old score to settle; and Captain Andrew Collins, an uninvited guest with a habit of appearing and disappearing in a highly disconcerting fashion.
Alive, Frederick Trivett was thoroughly disliked; dead, he was unlamented; murdered—but thereby hangs the tale.
“When [Tolefree] finally learns the truth about the killing, he does not tell the police, and for a very good reason. To the reader he drops a hint, and that is all. Is that mysterious enough? Then go to it.”—The New York Times
by J.D. Carr and Cecil Street (as Carter Dickson and John Rhode) Published in the United Kingdom as Drop to His Death
Carr and Street “are such expert mystery-mongers that their collaboration could scarcely fail to produce something extra special in the bafflement line. Fatal Descent is all of that.”—The New York Times
A seemingly impossible murder in a private elevator draws two sleuths to the case. Inspector Hornbeam and Dr. Horatio Glass are at odds from the beginning, each dismissive of the other’s theories, thus creating an atmosphere as much of competition as cooperation.
From the novel:
The elevator was perhaps six feet square by eight feet high, with steel walls painted to imitate bronze. Sir Ernest Tallant sat very quietly in the rear right-hand corner. His legs were outthrust stiffly, his back bent a little forward; and the brim of the rakish gray hat shaded his face. He might have been a grotesque parody of Little Jack Horner, if it had not been for the widening bloodstains on the left breast of his jacket. His umbrella lay beside him, also looking oddly childish like his posture. Under each roof corner of the elevator there was a tiny electric light; these four little lights illumined even the wrinkles on the backs of the man’s hands, and glittered on the pieces of broken glass.
The Judas Window (Carr writing as Carter Dickson)
One of the five best locked room mysteries, as selected by 14 established mystery authors and critics (All But Impossible!, 1981. ed. E. Hoch).
The Case: Avory Hume is found dead with an arrow through his heart—in a study with bolted steel shutters and a heavy door locked from the inside. In the same room James Caplon Answell lies unconscious, his clothes disordered as though from a struggle.
The Attorney for the Defense: That gruff and grumbling old sleuth, Sir Henry Merrivale, who proves himself superb in court—even though his gown does tear with a rending noise as he rises majestically to open the case.
The Action: Before H.M. can begin his defense, Answell, his client, rises and cries out that he is guilty. Sir Henry doesn't believe it. But proof, circumstantial evidence, and the man's own confession point to his guilt. So the great, explosive detective gets down to serious sleuthing and at last startles the crowd in the Old Bailey with a reconstruction of the crime along logical, convincing lines.
And So to Murder (Carr writing as Carter Dickson)
“And So to Murder, while providing all the thrills and a first-class murder mystery, is also a ribald satire of the motion picture industry.”—The Vancouver Sun
Death Rides the Tube…
The speaking-tube whistled. Monica flew at it. “Who are you? What do you want?”
She bent her cheek to the mouth of the tube to listen for an answer. Something was happening inside the tube. She jumped back. Something which looked like water, but was not water, spurted in a jet from the mouth of the tube. It splashed across the linoleum.
There was a hissing, sizzling noise as half a pint of vitriol began to eat into the surface of the floor.
The footsteps in the room above began to run.
Monica Stanton has written a saucy best-seller that has landed her her dream job, scriptwriting for a movie studio. Things turn sour quickly as she's saddled with a mentor she despises. After someone makes a gruesome attempt on her life, however, her feelings begin to change about him as they are forced together during the investigation.
Theories of Nazi “heiling enthusiasts” and espionage soon take form, leading to the entrance of Sir Henry Merrivale, who now works for British Military Intelligence. Only Sir Henry can wade through the “fat-heads” and schemers to get to the bottom of this amusing and clever mystery.
Murder at Lilac Cottage
For three years the man had lived in the little Lilac cottage on the Squire’s estate, yet apparently no one in that peaceful village knew a thing about him. The only significant clue that Superintendent Hanslet and Jimmy Waghorn found was the five pound bank note that he received on the day he died.
The minute they told Dr. Priestley about it he jumped to the bait and set forth on a trail that picked up such divergent clues as dope fiends, the dismantled engine of a motor mower, and the rear view of an odd man on a bicycle.
When the village good-for-nothing was found dead on the estate, it seemed to complicate the affair even more. But for Dr. Priestley it actually simplified things. He brings the case to a smashing conclusion that will leave the reader gasping at the ingenuity of the murders and the unfailing astuteness of this famous criminologist.
“Convincingly worked out.”—The Saturday Review
The Harvest Murder (also published as Death in the Hopfields)
“The good doctor continues to be a master of the science of detection.”—The New York Times
Sergeant Wragge happened to see it there, lying by the side of the road, and decided to take care of it himself. After all, a twelve-inch butcher knife is nothing to be left loose on a public highway. When he noticed those curious stains on the blade, his suspicions were more than aroused and he felt that he must be ready for trouble.
The Sergeant’s forebodings were swiftly corroborated by the events that followed—robbery, a mysterious disappearance, perhaps murder; so he felt that he was justified in demanding the aid of Scotland Yard. The careful investigations of Inspector Hanslet and Jimmy Waghorn soon had them on the right track; but it was Dr. Priestley’s quiet, seemingly enigmatic suggestion that finally unearthed the solution.
Dr. Priestley Lays a Trap
Published in the United Kingdom as The Motor Rally Mystery
“For sheer ingenuity in plot and execution, John Rhode has few if any equals in detective fiction.”—The Saturday Review
The death of Lessingham and his companion, Purvis, was, indeed, a tragic affair; but an automobile accident, especially one occurring in a race, rarely arouses suspicion. Sergeant Showerby, however, was a conscientious soul. His duty was to investigate thoroughly and investigate he did, with results that were suspicious enough to arouse Inspector Hanslet of Scotland Yard and, through him, the great criminologist, Dr. Priestley.
At first, there is so little evidence that one cannot understand Dr. Priestley’s interest in the case. Then, one by one, clues appear—not the ordinary clues which fall fortuitously in a detective’s lap, but clues that are found because the Doctor, by his famous process of logical deduction, knows where to look for them. Gradually a pattern forms so diabolical in its simplicity and effectiveness that Dr. Priestley is forced to set a dramatic trap which very nearly ends the lives of both detective and criminal.
Death Sits on the Board
“The murders are most ingeniously planned and executed, and even Dr. Priestley is put to a severe test before the story is ended.” —The New York Times
Constable Frean had an unpleasant sensation that he was not, as he seemed to be, patrolling a respectable London suburb, but was back at the Front in the year 1918, enduring a particularly vicious bombardment. Crash! With a roar like a bursting shell the roof of a nearby house blew off. Heading a rescue party, the constable found part of the house in ruins, and the owner, Sir Andrew Wiggenhall, missing. Eventually, his remains, or part of them, were discovered in the garden. Thus passed the Chairman of the Board of Porslin Ltd.
Some months later another member of the same board of directors died in mysterious circumstances. Still another followed shortly.
The reason for these apparently unrelated mysteries puzzled the police and intrigued Dr. Priestley. After a series of clever deductions, and as a result of clues which led far back into the past, he unearthed the secret of the Death that sat on the Board of Directors.
Death on the Boat Train
From the Jacket:
Fair blew the wind from France, and the Channel steamer Isle of Jethou rolled a bit in the stiff south-westerly breeze. But the rough crossing didn’t upset the mysterious passenger who had locked himself into his cabin as soon as he boarded the boat at Guernsey. The same desire for seclusion had manifested itself on the boat-train to Waterloo, for the guard had been presented with a pound-note to reserve a compartment for Mr. Mystery. But did he travel alone? For at Waterloo the gentleman from Guernsey was a pretty genuine corpse. Death on the Boat-Train is a first-rate detective story, once again featuring the coldly clever scientific mind of Dr. Priestley, John Rhode’s brilliant creation.
The Bloody Tower
(also published as The Tower of Evil)
“Any murder planned my Mr. Rhode is bound to be ingenious.”—The Observer
The old man dragged his dilapidated chair to the window. With difficulty, he slowly extended a gnarled, shaking hand and pointed toward a distant, formless bulk outlined against the sunset. “The tower still stands,” he said in a high-pitched, quivering voice, which seemed to conceal a note of triumph.
Strange words from a man who has just been told that his eldest son lies dead, killed by the inescapable explosion of his own shotgun. To be sure, the body had been found near the tower, but what could be the significance of this ungainly structure that the old man should mention it so mysteriously? Could the key exist within the old letter bearing biblical citations alongside a cipher of odd, hand-drawn shapes?
Subsequent developments draw Jimmy Waghorn and Inspector Hanslet far from the actual crime scene in their search for the murderer. When they finally bring their theory to that intrepid scientist-detective, Dr. Priestley, he offers a strangely enigmatic suggestion which throws new light on the case and sets them on the track of an amazing discovery.
“There are times when I think he is the finest detective story writer of them all.”—The Manchester Evening Star
The Indigo Necklace
Horror on the Ruby X
The Coral Princess Murders
The Amber Eyes
Murder in Bright Red
Thirteen White Tulips
“High ingenuity…splendid eating in San Francisco restaurants, and narrator Jean Abbott, always vividly observant of feminine fashions, this time finds that a fashion note is a vital clue.”—The New York Times
Jack Ivers, an urban sophisticate with a particular fondness for wealthy women, lies peacefully in his bed, dead. This scenario is greatly convenient for the woman who finds him, as she was on the scene to kill him herself. More curious, the thirteen red tulips she noticed entering Ivers’ home had been replaced by thirteen white tulips before she made her exit.
A number of people had good reason to want Jack Ivers dead, and naturally it falls to Jean and Pat Abbott to solve the confounding case.
“Amusing and sophisticated.”—The [London] Star
“Fashion hints all over place. Smooth.”—The Saturday Review
“…has an authentic-seeming San Francisco background for the activities of its two happily married young sleuths and their dachshund, and is strong on personal relations, colour, dress and dialogue, and very nearly as strong on clues.”—The Sphere
“Brightly-told excitement, with good dressing and good food as you go along.”—Lady
The Shocking Pink Hat
“Army intelligence work whets Pat's wits for lively, well-plotted and mystifying case with spouse stooging pleasantly.”—The Saturday Review
From the Jacket:
San Francisco is the locale of this fast-paced mystery by the author of The Indigo Necklace and The Man in Gray—San Francisco of the fabulously steep hills, the fog drifting in over the bay, the excellent restaurants and the exotic dives.
On one of its hills, in a muffling fog, Pat and Jean Abbott, Mrs. Crane’s delightful sleuthing couple, see a car crash into a hydrant, and it's no surprise to anyone when a murdered man is found slumped behind the wheel. The dead man, however, is the estranged husband of a very good friend of the Abbotts, Nancy Leland. Because Nancy is suspected of the murder, the Abbotts are from then on involved in two more murders, mayhem and a few other slightly illegal activities. A grim chain of apparently unrelated clues leads them to the murderer, and to a solution of more than passing interest to the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.
The Polkadot Murder
“The Hollywood-cum-Santa Fe artists, both screwy and sensible, in the desert are all neatly caught in the lively style given to Mrs. Pat to narrate. Grade: A”—The Saturday Review
From the jacket: “Time was,” said the sheriff of Santa Maria, “when murder was murder in this country. ... But now we got artists and writers and therefore psychology. It's enough to ruin the country.”
It was lucky for Sheriff Trask that Pat Abbott and his lively wife, Jeanie, were vacationing in the little New Mexican artists’ colony the day a psychotic war veteran and a gangster's widow arrived on the Plaza. By an odd coincidence they were the former spouses of friends of the Abbotts who'd just announced their engagement. Gilbert Mason, a pessimistic Hollywood writer, pointed out to Jeanie that it looked as if there would be no marriage, for the widow packed a gun.
The first day of tension exploded into murder and kidnapping, both crimes committed almost simultaneously, as if they had been masterminded to confuse pursuit. Immediately everyone began to act out of character. Competent Vanessa Wells, a writer who had lived alone and liked it for years, turned nervous and absent-minded. Gilbert Mason, a confirmed gossip, acted as if he knew more than he told. The gangster's widow and her apelike retainer became good Samaritans. And the handsome war veteran, who'd always looked after himself, began to plot his own downfall.
Through the exciting adventure Mrs. Crane conveys the many aspects of the New Mexican landscape, using the charm of Spanish-Indian culture, the backbiting of bohemia, and the terrifying, cruel loneliness of the desert to enhance the suspense.
Murder in Bright Red
“Pro Handling”—The Saturday Review
Pat and Jean Abbott, visiting relatives in a rich oil town, are called on to clear a pretty air-line hostess, Sally Carroll, who is suspected of having murdered her old beau. By the time the Abbotts arrive on the scene, there has been a curious change of policy: nobody wants them on the case, not the cousin and heir of the dead man, not his widow, and especially not the sheriff. Perversely, they decide to stay. Pat is shot at by a man who is supposed to be helping them, and Jean is buried in an abandoned well by a woman who claims to be on their side. Then a car they think is a friend’s crashes them into a ditch. Nevertheless they stick with the job until they come up with a solution that is both surprising and satisfying—but they cannot prevent the killer from claiming a second victim.
“Congenial and confiding.”—Kirkus
The Man in Gray
The Man in Gray was published in the United Kingdom as The Gray Stranger
“ ‘Now, what’s an enologist?’ I asked the dog. In reply he began to bark furiously and rushed at the front door. He yowled as if in panic.”
An enologist is one who studies wine. Daniel Vincent Willoz was one who studied wine until someone put a murderous end to his enological practices. As is often the case, Willoz spent too much time on enology and too little on toxicology. The good news is that Jean and Pat Abbott are present to solve this fiendishly complex murder puzzle set in San Francisco.
The Indigo Necklace
“Appealing background, pleasingly described; some family skeletons; bitter-sweet romance, and customarily deft Abbott sleuthing.”—The Saturday Review
From the jacket:
Lieutenant Pat Abbott and his lovable but slightly rattle-brained wife, Jean, have become about the most popular couple in murder fiction today. In The Indigo Necklace, Frances Crane takes them to New Orleans, where a huge wartime population has overflowed into the famous French quarter, steeped in tradition and old-world ceremony. When murder is done amidst these incongruous elements, it takes ingenious sleuthing indeed to unravel the crime!
Pat and his Jean are paying guests of a proud old Creole family, luxuriating in the charm of their surroundings, when Jean discovers a body at her very doorstep. Before the Lieutenant unmasks the murderer, the Abbotts meet a fascinating array of aristocrats and scoundrels, including the drawn-from-life police chief.
“The plot is good, and the writing is considerably above the average.”—The Montreal Gazette
“One of the year’s best.”—The Boston Globe
Horror on the Ruby X
Pat and Jean Abbott find it impossible to obtain information from the people at the ranch; their host’s vengeful mother, Georgina Mackenzie, resents intrusion into the lives of her eccentric protégés.
It soon becomes clear to the Abbotts that Mrs. Mackenzie’s handsome Navajo chauffeur and bodyguard actively resents their presence at the Ruby X. As they drive away in low gear, Pat attempts to negotiate the treacherous hill from the ranch to the Rio Grande. The gorge below seems like a gruesome black gash. Then, without warning, their car plummets madly toward the river’s brink, crashing to a dizzy, roaring halt.
“The glamor of a luxury ranch house, a bejewelled and gifted Indian, a poisonous lady of the manor, two sons, worshipful and mysterious, a Puritanical spinster, an alluring secretary, and a succession of violent deaths and threats of death. Jeanie (naturally) accumulates evidence and trouble.”—Kirkus
The Coral Princess Murders
In exotic Tangier, the well-known husband and wife team of Pat and Jean Abbott discover that international drug trafficking, plus greed and intrigue, invariably spell catastrophe for those involved therein.
And very bad luck for a number of free-loading beachcombers and expatriates who’d just about convinced themselves that they never had it so good.
“Bodies and bafflement galore in multi-murderous tale with considerable Hollywood glitter, ample suspense, and breathless conclusion. Nice gory going.”—The Saturday Review
Pat and Jean are invited by distant relatives to stay at the Black Cypress estate in Laguna Beach. It seems that one of the Abbotts’ less-than-pleasant distant relations, Enid Ponsonby, is being watched with a murderous eye, and Pat and Jean are called in for their sleuthing talents.
As a welcoming act, an expert knife thrower offers Jean a pointy death, which she barely has the chance to decline. The next morning a ne’er-do-well visiting from New Orleans is found on the property at the base of a cliff, having taken a shortcut to the bottom. The Abbotts face a cast of characters whose dysfunctional relationships with one another ensure the case is no walk on the beach.
The Amber Eyes
“Nasty characters and clues pointing off in all directions—quite good.”—The Miami News
When some new neighbors move in near the San Francisco home of Pat and Jean Abbott they seem to be a very strange family indeed, and soon they present as puzzling and as nasty a series of attempted murders and suspicious deaths as one could find in the annals of crime. First a child is found dead (suffocation? poison? or both?). Pat Abbott is engaged by one of the grown daughters to investigate, but Homicide is called in, in the person of the saturnine Inspector Sam Bradish and his imperturbable sergeant, Cohen.
There are plenty of suspects, for, they find, nearly every one of the Alby family had both motive and opportunity for killing the child. There are various attempts upon the lives of the people involved, including the lovelorn Rona, second wife of Dr. Alby, she of the amber eyes, who would readily sacrifice a fortune for the sleek Don Quayle, who isn’t quite so insensible to the uses of money. Then there is the attempt to kill the elder sister and Rona’s wild swing when she takes a shot at Pat Abbott.
Finally Pat uncovers the ugly story of an earlier murder, and the pattern begins to take form. In his masterly reconstruction of the series of crimes, Pat takes a knife thrust which is not serious but which puts the final confirmation on his deductions.
Asey “Cape Cod Sherlock” Mayo
The Cape Cod Mystery
Three Plots for
Punch with Care
Leonidas “Bill Shakespeare” Witherall
Mrs. Boylston “Non-Series” Tower
“Taylor can get more fun into a detective story than any writer at present producing, and with all the fun there is a mystery that is baffling for its own sake.”—The New York Times
Beginning with a Bash
The Iron Clew
Murder at the New York World’s Fair
The Cape Cod Mystery
“Asey Mayo possesses more common sense and personal charm than any other detective in fiction.” —The Times Literary Supplement
From the Jacket: The best-selling novelist is dead in the summer house. The millionaire is in the pillory in the town square. The village idiot is guarding him with a twenty-foot bullwhip. The bridge champion is under arrest for stealing his own car. The doctor is trying to get everyone in sight jailed for murder.
Dale Sanborn had as many visitors the night he was killed as if he'd been the most popular man on Cape Cod. One of them killed him—that was sure. The only trouble was, any of them could have—and all of them wanted to.
Ginger, Miss Prue’s cat, ran into Dale Sanborn's shack. When Miss Prudence cautiously entered, Ginger was lapping oil from a sardine tin that lay next to the corpse of a celebrated novelist.
When the local sheriff rounded up his suspects, they included Bill Porter, the millionaire who lived in Wellfleet because he hated cities and loved Miss Prue’s niece, Betsey; Johnny Kurth, and his divorced wife, both of whom tried to wangle invitations for the same weekend; and Betsey’s college friend who had hair like a chrysanthemum. Fortunately for all, Asey Mayo is present to sort the clues and find the killer.
Three Plots for Asey Mayo
Asey solves the Swan Boat Murder “in the best Mayo manner [and] the other two stories are just as good.”—The New York Times
From the jacket: Top-notch entertainment for mystery readers is contained in this 65,000 word volume made up of three Asey Mayo short novels, each replete with the excitement, the humor and the amusing characterisations that have distinguished all of this author’s popular books about the famous Cape Cod sleuth.
In The Headacre Plot, murder is all tied up with an eccentric millionaire’s hobby for wooden Indians and merry-go-round horses, which play a neat part in the solution of the killing of Colonel Head. The Wander Bird Plot concerns the girl, Cordelia, her angry uncle, and the unfortunate and very dead gentleman found in their trailer. The third of the stories takes its title The Swan Boat Plot from its locale in Boston’s Public Garden, near the famed swan boats. Asey Mayo witnesses the shooting of a young photographer and is called upon to solve a case that involves Boston’s glamour girl and leads him on a fine chase through Boston’s old brick-bordered streets.
Punch with Care
“Seasoned with all the quaintness for which ‘the Cape’ is so justly celebrated.”—The New York Times
Asey Mayo, Cape Cod’s gift to the amateur detective world, tackles another baffling mystery, which creeps up on him before he knows it, smack between the one o’clock Bull Moose siren and the one o’clock Quick Quiz Question on WBBB.
While murder is no novelty to Mayo, this case involves him with such bizarre items as the Pochet and Back Shore Railroad, a private narrow-gauge line in Mrs. Douglass’s back yard; Lulu Belle, its antique Pullman with the silver-plated spittoons; Carolyn Barton Boone and her Larrabee College Project on Town Government; and a few bewildered adolescents who had always intended to go to college anyway.
As might be expected, Cousin Jennie aids and abets the case between batches of sugar gingerbread, and old Doc Cummings gleans further material for his projected memoirs From Mustard Plaster to Penicillin. There are the clam diggers too, and the Summer Folks, and, of course, the Tourist Trade.
Just who the corpse is, and where Asey's got it—well, these questions along with dozens of other strange and intriguing happenings are handled shrewdly and expertly in the murder-cum-humor mystery that continues to delight Taylor fans. The Philadelphia Inquirer says, “Another Asey Mayo story is always welcome with its sure-fire combination of Cape Cod atmosphere, well-knit plot, excitement and comedy.”
“A thrilling undercurrent of murderous possibilities!”—Argonaut
“A spring tonic for the most jaded literary appetite.”—The Milwaukee Journal
In front of a tall tombstone lay a figure...a figure of a woman. An obviously recent corpse, dressed like an Indian, lay in a storm-lashed cemetery. But the body was above ground—with its skull bashed in! And to all appearances, the man who did it was still bending over the dead woman as detective Asey Mayo came upon the scene.
It looked like he had stumbled on a killer and had caught him with the murder weapon still in his hand. But Asey wasn't sure. It looked too good—to his trained eye, it was too simple.
And he was right! In rapid-fire succession clue after clue pointed to someone else—from a scroll clutched in the fingers of the corpse to a pink glass egg lying on the rain-swept pavement of a country road. Asey Mayo found that instead of an air-tight case, he had been plunged into one of his most baffling mysteries.
Beginning with a Bash
(Taylor writing as Alice Tilton)
A freezing east wind blew through the streets of Boston. To Martin Jones, shivering outside, a second-hand bookstore, the printed sign “Come in and Browse—it's warm inside” looked very inviting. So in he went. But others too had sought the shelter of the store, among them Professor John North, who was shortly afterwards found dead amid a sea of books, his head bashed in.
Unfortunately for Martin, he is obviously suspect number one for the murder, and that was bad news.
The good news is that the bookstore is owned by Dot Peters, a friend from student days, and that she is assisted by Leonidas Xenophon Witherall (more often called Bill on account of his uncanny resemblance to William Shakespeare), the retired headmaster of the prestigious Boston academy which Martin had once attended.
Both believe in his innocence, and when Leonidas, making his bow in this delightful crime comedy whodunit, announces that they had just forty hours in which to secure the real murderer of Professor North, he appears so self-possessed that against all odds Dot believes he can actually do it.
The Iron Clew (Taylor writing as Alice Tilton)
“Wilder and more diverting experiences than those which befall Leonidas Witherall are seldom found anywhere except in books by Alice Tilton.”—The New York Times
From the jacket: Leonidas Witherall, who is the splitting image of Bill Shakespeare, runs pell-mell into another amazing mystery, written in superlative humor-cum-homicide manner.
‘Bill’ Witherall is a mystery writer himself. In his housekeeper’s “candied” opinion, his clews are too out of this world. So his next book is to begin with an innocent-looking brown paper package. This simple decision starts a chain of events in which the old octopus of fate puts out all eight tentacles. Even before Leonidas gets to his dinner engagement with Fenwick Balderston, the chase is on—with Leonidas both the pursuer and the pursued, on that surprising snowy night in Dalton, Framfield, and environs.
Balderston Hall (“If anyone ever thought of making an iron wedding cake, it would resemble this house”) is the scene of unprecedented happenings, especially when the suspicious Dr. Fell arrives with his cheese. The clews, not all of them iron, appear in delightful confusion, together with a train of lively characters who help and hinder Leonidas in his Odyssey.
Leonidas Witherall tilts for mystery honors with Asey Mayo, the Hayseed Sleuth of Cape Cod, and The Iron Clew will rate a place among the most amusing items on the mystery shelf.
Murder at the New York World’s Fair
(Taylor writing as Freeman Dana)
“Previews of next year's Big Show [are] interesting but [the] criminal goings-on and detecting border on fantastic. Verdict: Extravaganza”—The Saturday Review
Poor Daisy Tower, all she wanted was to find a respite from Egleston, her nephew, and Elfrida, his “statuesque” wife. Their misery-making has finally convinced Daisy that “slipping away in the laundry truck to catch the Boston train” is a reasonable idea. The train in question happens to be “The Golden Dart,” owned by the famed art collector Conrad Cassell. Daisy discovers the train is rich with deluxe amenities, such as a private office containing its very own dead body.
Daisy isn’t looking for a starring role in a screwball comedy of a mystery, yet here she is, seeking the murderer of the aforementioned amenity amid the bustle of the World’s Fair’s festivities.
From the jacket:
“The Lord only knows how many love stories and success stories and mystery stories are going to be inspired by the 1939 World’s Fair in New York—but one thing is certain: Miss Freeman Dana has gotten the jump on the field! Her story is a good one, too! She has woven an ingenious murder mystery amid the masses of the most publicized exhibition in the history of the world.”
The Talking Sparrow Murders
D & H Teilhet
The Feather Cloak Murders
Murder on Wheels
Four Lost Ladies
The Cases of Hidegarde Withers
Erle Stanley Gardner
The Case of the Backward Mule
Erle Stanley Gardner
Give ’em the Ax
Erle Stanley Gardner
Crows Can’t Count
Coming soon: Teilhet's The Ticking Terror Murders
“Those who have not already made the acquaintance of Hildegarde should make haste to do so, for she is one of the world’s shrewdest and most amusing detectives.”—The New York Times
Gardner, The Case of the Backward Mule
“The master has done it again! A plot that never lets down from beginning to end, human and fascinating characters, a story told with authentic punch.”—The Montreal Gazette
Note: this edition is very slightly bowdlerized, but the character of the story remains as it was in 1946.
Killer or not—she had it coming!
Terry Clane and Cynthia Renton went to the warehouse that night because of an urgent call from Edward Harold. They found a man lying on the floor, a bullet through his head.
The police were already looking for Cynthia so Terry got her out before reporting the murder. And when Inspector Malloy arrived and questioned him, Terry insisted that he had come alone, by taxi.
“Sure you didn’t carry anything with you that belonged to a woman?"
One of Malloy's men handed him a black handbag. It was Cynthia's. “Now Clane,” Inspector Malloy said, “the driving license in here is in the name of Cynthia Renton. And there's $2500 in bills. You wouldn’t know anything about that, would you?”
Cynthia Renton's fiancé Edward has temporarily escaped his fate in the gas chamber, a fate handed down for the murder of one Horace Farnsworth. Cynthia also happens to be the ex-girlfriend of Terry Clane, which is a very good thing. Terry is convinced that Edward is innocent of the crime, and with the help of several Chinese friends, evades the police while conducting his own investigation into the murder.
Gardner, Give ’em the Ax
“Packed with amusing and amazing legal tangles, and jammed with action.”—The Saturday Review
The Rimley Rendezvous was the kind of back-street bistro where a tired businessman could drop in for a pick-up, no questions asked. Deep carpets and subdued lights gave the place an air of clandestine class. And solicitous waiters catered to the customer's every whim. All these comforts added up to a steep cover charge, especially since blackmail figured as the major part of the tab.
It was a very lucrative business…until a murderer cut into the profits…and left his ax in Donald Lam’s car. The team of Cool and Lam are at their fast-talking, fast-moving best in this tough tale of suicide, blackmail and murder.
Gardner, Crows Can't Count
“Lam couldn't be better and Bertha Cool gracefully supplies backstage obbligato of screams and objurgations. Plot excellent; track fast. Verdict: A-1”—The Saturday Review
Murder comes in many sizes. If you are a detective your job is to wrap it up, in a neat bundle. Sometimes you do. But, sometimes, you run out of string.
This was one of those times. Donald Lam knew there was one person with the key to a murder, a man named Murindo. Then Lam heard this: "Murindo is dead. In little pieces, he is dead."
In other words—murder by dynamite! This was a new bundle—but, after the explosion, there was nothing left to wrap up...
“More hornet-nesting, as Donald Lam investigates a spendthrift trust, and gets involved with murder, emeralds, a talking crow, Colombian mines and antiques, and three elusive women. Bertha's shrieks to high heaven and Donald's corner-cutting combine to a successful finish for their firm. Nimble.”—Kirkus
Teilhet, The Talking Sparrow Murders
“No true mystery fan can afford to pass this story by. It is one of the best in a season that has brought us more than a few that are really worth while.”—Isaac Anderson, The New York Times
“Help! I am caught!” said the sparrow, who was undoubtedly not a Nazi, unlike many others in 1934 Germany. William Tatson is no Nazi either. He is an American engineer in the country oversee a project in the newly established third German Reich.
Tatson’s string of problems begin when a dazed man stumbles toward him with a claim of a speaking sparrow. The Deutsch Doktor Dolittle soon collapses and dies leaving Tatson subjected to police questioning. The Heidelberg police find Herr “Tat-zohn’s” story of the talking sparrow claim incredible. Their dissatisfaction with Tatson’s answers lead them to demand his continued presence in the country, thus jeopardizing his plan to return to the U.S. for a deadline-dependent job. Naturally, Tatson decides to discover for himself the truth about the murdered man, but the truth winds through a dangerous maze of secrets, Nazi officials, and a mysterious yet beautiful lounge singer.
“His novel is first-rate in its own class. It has the good writing editors cry for in mysteries nowadays, and enough fast action to suit any one. It also has some really excellent clues. … His novel could well serve as a model of its kind.”—Robert van Gelder, The New York Times
“Grand atmosphere, buckets of plot, wicked Nazi villains, and good love story admirably mixed. Verdict: Kolossal!”—The Saturday Review
Teilhet, The Feather Cloak Murders
“The Baron…has his little eccentricities, but underneath his odd exterior he is a real man and a good detective. You should make his acquaintance at once if you have not already done so.”—The New York Times
“Shivery silent death, entrancing island atmosphere, odd native lore, and a sweet puzzle. Grand!”—The Saturday Review.
The Baron is offered one thousand dollars to escort Mr. Hiroshita, a wealthy Japanese importer, and a valuable jade relic to Hawaii. He naturally accepts, after all, what could go wrong?
It begins with a murder on the Honolulu-bound liner. Carl Kohler, a German living in Hawaii, had been desperate to speak with Hiroshita. Instead of a conversation, Kohler receives a feathered dart…fatally shot into his chest. The Baron discovers that the jade piece is linked to ancient Incan treasures and a mysterious map, for which someone is willing to commit murder.
“The Baron considers all Americans to be barbarians, chiefly because they refuse to be awed by, his exalted rank. Most Americans, on the other hand, consider him a conceited fool, in which they are as wide of the mark as he is in his estimate of them. The Baron is conceited, but he is not a fool. He has his little eccentricities, but underneath his odd exterior he is a real man and a good detective. You should make his acquaintance at once if you have not already done so.”—The New York Times
Murder on Wheels
“Hildegarde Withers belongs up near the head of the class in crime detection.”—The New York Times review of Murder on Wheels
From the jacket:
Thick flakes of snow are falling on Fifth Avenue at twilight—and then the body of a young man suddenly falls among them, mysteriously out of the sky.
Momentarily the wheels of traffic are halted, but other wheels spin relentlessly on—the wheels of death, the wheels on which bloody murder moves silently through Manhattan’s streets.
Once again Miss Hildegarde Withers, the schoolteacher-detective, matches her wits against an unknown X, armed only with the precious gift of common sense and a cotton umbrella. One youth is dead, and his twin brother moves under a cloud. Then death rolls past again, like a swifter Juggernaut, while Miss Withers faces the problem of the Driverless Roadster, the Man Who Wore Two Neckties, and the Symptoms of Bathtub Hands.
Murder on Wheels is a fast moving mystery, packed with thrills for the fan who likes to play detective.
Palmer, Four Lost Ladies
“Incomparable.”—The Saturday Review
“Full of fun and delightful people. A really terrific plot.”—The Chicago Daily News
No use to scream. No use at all. One of the proudest boasts of the Hotel Grandee was that its thousand rooms were all completely soundproof. She could shriek until she was blue in the face, but nobody would hear her. Nobody but the man who blocked her way to the door, to the phone.
Love-starved Harriet Bascom was dressed for the occasion… unmentionables trimmed with Chantilly lace; the sheerest of dark, flattering nylons; a daringly décolleté gown with a Paris label. ... It was her armor. She was dressed to kill but instead—someone killed her! And she was only the first victim in Four Lost Ladies.
“An exciting novel, fully up to the best Withers performance.”—August Derleth
“A hair-raising adventure.”—The Springfield Republican
“Numerous amusing twists and turns.”—The Cleveland Plain Dealer
The Cases of Hildegarde Withers
“Those who have not already made the acquaintance of Hildegarde should make haste to do so, for she is one of the world’s shrewdest and most amusing detectives.”—The New York Times
Miss Hildegarde Withers, middle-aged school teacher and amateur sleuth, stars in five short stories by Stuart Palmer. Miss Withers, her odd hats, and her ever-present umbrella have been featured in seven motion pictures and seventeen full-length novels, which, like the shorts, are characterized by madcap stories of murder and brilliant deduction.
Included in this collection:
The Puzzle of the Scorned Woman (aka The Riddle of the Lady from Dubuque)
The Riddle of the Yellow Canary
A Fingerprint in Cobalt (aka The Riddle of the Blue Fingerprint)
The Riddle of the Doctor’s Double
Green Fire (aka The Riddle of the Green Ice)
Tell Her It's Murder
Name Your Poison
The Dead Can Tell
“Helen Reilly’s stories of Inspector McKee are convincing because she has made a close study of the workings of the New York City Police Department and has always aimed at solving fictional crimes just as the police would go about solving real ones.”—The New York Times
Two-Thirds of a Ghost
Do Not Disturb
The Big Midget Murders
The Fourth Postman
The Dead Can Tell
an Inspector McKee mystery
“The letters forming the name ‘Sara Hazard’ and the word ‘murdered’ were in large caps.” The death of Sara Hazard, a Manhattan socialite, was first deemed an accidental drowning. This patch-work letter claimed otherwise and is sufficiently convincing to bring Inspector McKee on to the case.
“All kinds of amorous accords and discords get in play when love lies a’ bleeding in the shape of a much hated, but very beautiful wife and extortionist. Her death, believed to be accidental, is investigated by McKee—and leads him a fine whirl. Those involved—New York’s rotogravure highlights, society and politicians alike, play mum...A fast paced story, handled with velvet.”—Kirkus
“Plenty of thrills and tense moments. Verdict: Enjoyable”—The Saturday Review
Reilly, The Farmhouse
an Inspector McKee mystery
“Nell Shevlin’s womanly intuition works overtime after she arrives at her old homestead to rest and ponder a proposal of marriage. …Miss Reilly again reveals her artistry by producing a tale in which terror and menace are well sustained and provide a congruous background for McKee to wind up one of his best cases to date.”—The New York Times
From the jacket:
The shadow of a ruthless killer creeps over a quiet countryside as fear and suspense mount steadily and explode in a crashing climax.
Why lanterns are lit each evening on the graves of the four dead Vestry sisters?
Why a woman wearing black net stockings and shoes with four-inch heels walks country lanes at night? How a used bus ticket reveals an ingenious blackmail plot?
What is the reason for Wick’s strange relationship with the breathtakingly beautiful Rita?
Why flowers are heaped on a grave where no one is buried?
You will learn the answers as you read this ingenious story of death and terror.
Reilly, Name Your Poison
an Inspector McKee mystery
As McKee follows the trail of a very ambitious poisoner, he finds the next victim on her way from a Connecticut mansion…stuffed in a trunk.
“The case is probably the most complicated one in McKee’s entire career. ... those who do not lose patience too easily will find in it as neat a bit of detecting as McKee has ever done.”—The New York Times
“Svelte story…The gentle Scot, McKee, gets at the truth after many consequences. [Reilly’s] smooth, romantic manner always pleases.”—Kirkus
“The best Inspector McKee mystery yet! Highly emotional, intricately plotted, and tough to guess.”—The New York Herald
“Verdict: Satisfying”—The Saturday Review
Reilly, Tell Her It's Murder
an Inspector McKee mystery
Recollection began to come back. It wasn’t a lumpy mattress he was lying on, it was a dead man—a man called Midnight Mike. ...
His pain-filled mind curled in terror. It threw him two years back in time—before he was sent to jail—to another black night. Only that time the body had belonged to a little boy, crushed and broken beneath Jim’s car. And Jim had been behind the wheel.
He’d been told about that first killing so often that he could almost see himself doing it. But Mike’s body beside him convinced Jim that he hadn’t killed the little boy. He hadn’t killed Mike tonight, either. It was only a matter of time before he remembered the crucial detail that would clear him of both murders. But time, like the blood that poured from his wounded head, was fast running out. …
Rice, The Big Midget Murders
“Expertly timed original crime and frenzied follow-up cannily solved by lawyer-sleuth, with lavish accompaniment of good wise-cracking. Verdict: Superior.”—The Saturday Review
“Fast and furious.”—Kirkus
The Big Midget is the hit of the show in Jake Justus's night club, until someone puts an abrupt end to the Midget. Why were eleven unmatched silk stockings used as a noose? Who conked Jake when he got on the killer’s trail? John J. Malone finds all the answers with the energetic and hilarious assistance of Jake Justus and the beautiful Helene.
Rice, The Fourth Postman
“Plot and people as wacky as ever, with busted Malone and chicken-poxed Justuses supplying plenty of comedy and, surprisingly, much intriguing sleuthing. Verdict: Fun.”—The Saturday Review
“Why can’t all murders be as funny as those concocted by Craig Rice?”—The New York Times
One Postman! Two Postmen! Three Postmen! All murdered!
John J. Malone sticks his nose into the case of the dead postmen and picks up a crack on the head, an Australian beer hound, and six redheaded twins. It all begins when he takes on a new client, Rodney Fairfaxx. Rodney was tabbed for the postmen murders because he hadn’t received a letter from a dead girl for more than 30 years. Malone doesn’t think that this is enough reason to kill, but he can’t prove it. …
Craig Rice (as Michael Venning), Jethro Hammer
“No one will get you out of your vacation hammock too easily, once you've started. …There are deftly drawn characters, colorful backgrounds and pungent, believable dialogue to round out this Grade-A thriller.”—The New York Times
“Breathlessly exciting”—The Chicago Sun-Times
From the jacket:
Once you have read the introductory chapter, nothing short of fire or flood will prevent you from finishing Jethro Hammer.
Once in a while, because of its eminent readability, a book emerges from the many to take its place at the top of any reader’s list. Jethro Hammer is such a book, embracing all the qualifications of top ranking fiction as well as embodying the spine tingling drama and needling action of the best psychological novel.
Will Donahue, blacksmith, was a simple-hearted friendly man who loved children, stray cats, and everything lonely and helpless. It was only natural, when the pale, undernourished baby was found wailing in a church, that Will take him to his home, give him a name (Jethro Hammer), and raise him as one of his own children. After Will’s death, his now fully grown family, selfish to the core, declined to cut Jethro in on the fortune the blacksmith had amassed. The disappearance of Jethro Hammer (which lasted twenty years), his return, his revenge and his death unfold with a dramatic simplicity that well makes felt the embittered strength of the cast off man.
Ne pas être un looky-loo!
Helen McCloy, Do Not Disturb
“Engaging heroine—who does most of sleuthing—many shivery and exciting sequences, continuous action, and extra good writing.”—The Saturday Review
“One of [McCloy’s] most startling efforts.”—The Hartford Courant
From the jacket:
Helen McCloy has won wide acclaim as author of the Basil Willing mysteries. This time she has written an entirely different kind of mystery novel—one of escape and threat and terror that will chill the marrow of your bones.
The sign read DO NOT DISTURB and at first Edith Talbot ignored the pitiful whimpering that came through the door. The hotel clerk assured her that the room was occupied by a sick boy under the care of a physician. Later in the night, when the cries were resumed, she felt that something must be done—and she made the fatal mistake of knocking on the door...
From then on things begin to happen—strange things that at first seem innocuous coincidence but crescendo into a series of hair-raising events.
Helen McCloy, Two Thirds of a Ghost
a Dr. Basil Willing Mystery
“One of the most enjoyable whodunits of this or any season. Reason: Its gorgeous satire on the book publishing business and the people in it or on the fringes.”—The Columbus Dispatch
Amos Cottle was a valuable property—a first-rate novelist who produced four best sellers in four years. He had to be protected. From himself (he was an ex-alcoholic). And from his wife (she was a gold-digging siren and she spelled trouble). His publisher and his agent thought Amos’s problems were solved when they clawed the beautiful Vera out of his hair and shipped her off to Hollywood. But they were wrong. For there came a night when Vera returned. That was the night Amos had to have a drink. It was too bad he never lived to sober up.
“One of the most entertaining mysteries of the year.”—The Denver Post
“Extremely enjoyable.”—The New York Herald Tribune
“Tricky and top-notch.”—The Chattanooga Times
“Excellent.”—The Raleigh News & Observer
Death of Jezebel
Dorothy Salisbury Davis
The Judas Cat
They Buried a Man
Lillian de laTorre
Three Cases of Samuel Johnson
Five Passengers from Lisbon
Blood on Lake Louisa
Sinners and Shrouds
Frances & Richard Lockridge
The Dishonest Murderer
Death of a Stray Cat
The Blonde Died Dancing
Lockridge, The Dishonest Murderer
a Mr. and Mrs. North mystery
“One of the best Mr. and Mrs. North mysteries the Lockridges have produced, ‘The Dishonest Murderer’ is well plotted, smooth, and urbane. It has good suspense, and the delineation of the strengths and frailties of the human beings involved in the crime is interesting.”—The New York Times
At a party celebrating the release of Admiral Satterbee’s memoirs, Pam North hits it off with the Admiral’s daughter, Freddie, who is engaged to a U.S. senator. Later that night, sadly, it is found that Senator Kirkhill has lost his husbandly suitability when he is discovered dead, murdered, in fact. Freddie seeks the Norths for help; she has information that could shed light on the murder, but involving the police might be a bad idea.
Latimer, Sinners and Shrouds
“Thoroughly engaging...shrewdly concocted blend of exciting suspense”—The Chicago Tribune
From the jacket: A buzzing noise woke Sam Clay. He woke cautiously, feeling the sun on his face, but he did not open his eyes. From the ache at the base of his skull, his taut throat muscles, the coppery taste in his mouth, the semi-paralysis gripping his limbs, he knew the shock of seeing sunlight would kill him. He lay without moving, sweating a little and hoping he could go back to sleep, but the buzzing disturbed him.
It was, he decided, either a fly or a symptom of his hang-over. The latter would be something new, even to him: a buzzing hang-over. He pictured himself trying to explain it to a doctor and resolved to give up drinking. He seemed to recall blending brandy and champagne at a bar somewhere. He also seemed to recall drinking brandy in a taxi, and on a roller coaster.
The evening had a mixed-up, dreamlike quality. He remembered a row with a doorman, a hundred-dollar check he’d cashed at the 69 Club, a bottle of brandy he’d bought somewhere else, a pretty redhead smiling at him in a smoky joint full of violin music, but he couldn’t put the memories in any order. And he had no memory at all of getting home.
As a matter of fact, Sam Clay wasn’t home. He woke to a strange apartment and to a strange woman in the same room with him. She was very beautiful. She was also, unfortunately, very dead.
Despite the hang-over, Sam was a good enough newspaperman to recognize a frame when he saw it, especially when the frame was around him. From then on he had to keep one step ahead of the police in order to save his own neck.
Kendrick, Blood on Lake Louisa
“This novel won third prize in a competition conducted by a national magazine …It would be interesting to know what novels won the first and second prizes over so thrilling a yarn as this one.”—The New York Times
Orange Crest, Florida is an unlikely locale for murder, and Doc Ryan an unlikely murderer. Yet, when David Mitchell, banker and pillar of the community, is found dead at Lake Louisa, Ryan blames himself for the crime. Fortunately for the doctor the town sheriff has other theories, and together they set out to solve an extremely puzzling crime.
Eberhart, Five Passengers from Lisbon
Five Passengers is filled with the “suspense and terror which Mrs. Eberhart knows so well how to maintain.”—The New York Times
Boarding the ship was like entering a dream for Marcia Colfax. At her side was the man she loved; awaiting them was a long delayed happiness. But now a bloodstained knife has slashed her plans to bits. Now her dream has become a nightmare. One man is dead, a knife buried deep in his back. After the second of the group is found dead, fear spreads throughout the ship, as do rumors that Nazi diehards lie among the rescued.
Now her voyage to happiness has become a race against death as the murderer readies to strike again.
Shortly after the end of the war, an American hospital ship rescues passengers and crew from a sinking Argentina-bound freighter. It's soon discovered that one of the group has been murdered, apparently by one of his own companions. After the second of the group is found dead, fear spreads throughout the ship, as do rumors that Nazi diehards lie among the rescued.
“The master touch... superior.”—Kirkus
“Ample action and much tense emotion.”—The Saturday Review
de la Torre, Three Cases of Samuel Johnson, Detector
This small collection is comprised of three short stories by Lillian de la Torre, a pioneer of the historical whodunnit.
“The stories of this series take place in England and Scotland between 1763, when young James Boswell met the great Sam. Johnson in Davies’s back room in Russell Street, and 1784, when their close friendship was severed by the death of Johnson. They exhibit Dr. Johnson in a new role, a role which, though he assumed it but once, was well within his extraordinary possibilities—the role of detector of crime and chicane.
“The stories are written as from the pen of James Boswell, who so faithfully recorded Dr. Johnson’s sayings and doings in his great biography. I hope and believe that none of these imaginary exploits of Dr. Sam: Johnson will outrage belief. Each is abundantly possible to the man upon the quickness and accuracy of whose perceptions Boswell commented.”—Lillian de la Torre
“Mystery fans…will be delighted by the swift and sure movement of Dr. Johnson’s mind. These are stories of ratiocination and, surprisingly enough, the result seldom humbles the reader. On the contrary, he sometimes knows the solution before Dr. Johnson explains it. This extraordinary reward may tempt the veteran of modem mystery stories.”—The New York Times
Mildred Davis, They Buried a Man
They Buried a Man by Edgar award-winner Mildred Davis:
“In all respects more impressive than Miss Davis’ debut*…While you are absorbed in the complex subtleties of a suspense story of the modern school, bordering on the straight novel in its illumination of character and motive, Miss Davis adroitly sneaks up on you with a legitimate surprise trick as technically pretty as anything in the pure puzzle-detective story. A highly gratifying book from any angle.”— Anthony Boucher, The New York Times
* Davis’ debut, The Room Upstairs, won the Edgar in 1948 for Best First Novel
The whole town of Little Forks went into mourning when Selwyn Buoman was killed in an automobile accident.
A year later, the town’s one newspaper reporter, Gunnard Kerr, was to write: “They buried a man a year ago. A man Little Forks knew and loved for nearly half a century. A man who would mend your fences or give you free medicine or hop out of bed in the middle of the night to take you to a hospital. A man who, if he gave you a prescription you couldn’t afford, would say, ‘The first one is on the house.’ They buried a man a year ago, but they couldn’t bury all the threads with which he was tied to the people he left behind.” Gunnard Kerr had come upon the first of those threads immediately after the accident. He was a newcomer to the town, and so, when he wrote a front page obituary, he went back into the files of the town’s newspaper. There were a lot of clippings for Selwyn Buoman: community activities, welfare work, contributions, his overwhelming election as mayor. Exactly what Kerr expected. Until he came to the murder.
That was the one false note, the one oddity. Somehow or other, years before, the poisoning of the town’s banker had some connection with Selwyn Buoman. Kerr began to ask questions, and he found himself up against a solid wall of silence.
He thought that the town had entered into a conspiracy to prevent justice. Suddenly, he realized that everyone in Little Forks—Selwyn Buoman’s wife, his son, his best friends—everyone believed he was a murderer.
And so, being a good newspaperman, Kerr went deeper and deeper into the life of Selwyn Buoman and at last found the extraordinary solution of a murder and of the character of a man.
“Absolutely A-1 in every respect”—The San Francisco Chronicle
Dorothy Davis, The Judas Cat
“[The Judas Cat] is a “rewardingly perceptive novel.”—Anthony Boucher, The New York Times
“…a wonderful small town setting, a good story, and some very, very top-flight writing. Don’t miss it!”—Craig Rice, The Los Angeles News
A hate-filled town was afraid to call it murder...
A strange victim—Hillside had always dismissed 92-year-old Andy Mattson as simply a strange old codger—a name parents used to scare their kids into behaving.
Then one steaming summer day the town was rocked by news of his death...his violent death.
Chief Waterman spoke for the whole town when he said: “It just don’t make sense that anyone’d try to kill the old man . . . What’s the use of risking your neck when he was going to kick off any day?”
But in this seemingly respectable town there was someone who couldn’t wait—a fear-crazed killer whose guilt drove him to murder!
The Judas Cat a “heftily plotted opus with roots sinking deep into pasts of numerous ably delineated characters who furnish plentiful action and a stirring finish.”—The Saturday Review
Daly, Unexpected Night
Unexpected Night by Agatha Christie’s favorite American mystery writer and Edgar Award-winner
“Elizabeth Daly rose like a star on the mystery fans’ horizon with Unexpected Night.”—The New York Times
“Spooky from start, with extra shivery climax at [a] theatrical performance where death plays leading role.”—The Saturday Review
Amberly Cowden was staying at a Maine golf resort just as he attained the age of majority, and with it a one million dollar inheritance. “He is imagined to have celebrated his coming of age by going out and falling off a cliff. Poor old Amby.” “Poor old Amby,” indeed, but it is fine news and better timing for his relatives. Had he died before reaching the age of 21, every cent of the money would have gone to “some French connections” utterly alien to Amberly’s American relations.
As luck would have it, the extra-keen sleuth Henry Gamadge is at the resort for a bit of R & R. Never one to ignore a suspicious turn of events, Gamadge vows to get to the bottom of young Amberly’s death, no matter what the cost.
From the jacket: Distinguished by a delightful humor and by the freshness of its writing, this novel tells of terror and strange murder in a Maine seacoast resort.
An army family, the relatives and hangers-on of a rich young invalid, a summer theater group of Irish players, an expert on documents, and the salt Maine air are the components of Miss Daly’s novel.
The reasons why it was necessary for Amberley Cowden’s body to be found on the beach at the bottom of the cliff near the hotel and for his sister alma to be repeatedly frightened are part of the solution of this original and unusual plot. Young Gamadge doesn’t think it strange that Amberly Cowden has died, but he begins to worry when one of the Irish players tells him that he had the evil eye. It turns out that the actor was very nearly right.
“Caspary is an expert at suspense and suspicion…She is also expert at evoking the flavor of a decade when martinis were drunk in coffee cups and rumbles were car seats.”—The New York Times
Fanny Butcher, the literary critic for the Chicago Tribune, “came out of retirement to declare it obscene—ironic judgment from today's point of view, since there are no graphic descriptions and the most explicit allusions are in a scene in which two naked girls discuss sex.” (Caspary’s The Secrets of Grown-ups, p. 265)
It was a time when skirts were short and hair was shingled. A time of speakeasies, hipflasks and bathtub gin. A time when Evvie Ashton, the beautiful society girl who modeled, danced, painted and loved promiscuously had come of age—knowing all the right people, doing all the wrong things, and sharing all of it with her roommate and confidante, Louise.
After being unusually reticent about her latest love, something unthinkable happens to Evvie. Louise must enter a world of duplicity and menace to learn of Evvie’s fate and the identity of her last flame.
“Evvie is a haunting, period piece of a novel, written with the poetic power and skill of the novelist who gave us Laura.”—The Los Angeles Times
“A brilliant book.”—New Statesman “Wonderful.”—The San Francisco Chronicle
“A story of flaming youth... a whodunit with a surprise ending...a psychological study of character... of love...and of twisted relationships...written with perception and insight. —The New York Herald Tribune
Brand, Death of Jezebel
“This is a locked-room mystery with a difference, and what a difference it is!”—The New York Times
“Cannily plotted and actionful.”—The Saturday Review
Isabel Drew had done her best in life to live up to her nickname, Jezebel. Sadly, someone believes her efforts insufficient and helps her off the balcony of a theater castle tower. It was a seemingly impossible crime; the culprit escapes detection even though the act is committed before eleven knights on horseback and an entire audience of witnesses.
From the book:
Cockie’s brown fingers played with his cigarette. “This is a projection of the ‘sealed room’ mystery. The scene of the murder was bounded on one side by a stage, under the observation of several thousand pairs of eyes; and on the other by a locked door, with somebody sitting on guard on the other side of it. The murderer must have been within these confines. And the place is as bare as a biscuit box, so that there is nowhere where he can possibly have hidden, or remain hidden.
Roos, The Blonde Died Dancing
“The Kelley Roos team, specialists in the difficult blending of comedy and murder, have turned out a little honey in this opus. …Perfectly sound plot, narration crisp and really funny, general effect thoroughly engaging. Couldn’t be better in its field.”—The San Francisco Chronicle
“Brightly absurd dialogue and situations.”—The New York Times
Murder in three-quarter time
She was the most luscious, blue-eyed, baby-faced blonde I had ever seen, and she was dancing with my husband. I was tempted to scratch her eyes out, but I was too happy.
Now I knew why Steve had been “working late at the office.” He was learning to dance.
His teacher was quite a dish. And from where I stood, she seemed to be enjoying the lesson much too much. So I decided to set her straight.
When Steve came out of Studio K, I went in. A Viennese waltz was playing, but the blonde was sitting this one out—on the floor with a bullet hole in her back.
“An entertaining tale to puzzle and delight the most exacting mystery fan.”—The Montgomery Advertiser
“The Blonde Died Dancing is in line for one of the ‘best detective story of the year’ awards. It is certainly one of the most entertaining.”—The Journal-American
Potts, Death of a Stray Cat
“Jean Potts won the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar for her 1954 first novel, Go, Lovely Rose… her second novel, Death of a Stray Cat is even better. Formally, this is an unusually well-constructed detective story, [yet] its virtues are even more novelistic than deductive: …a wonderful feeling for the niceties of character interplay and the pecking order in human relationships, and…an infusion of irony and compassion.”—Anthony Boucher, The New York Times
“She started a hoarse scream, turned it into a whimper as the fingers twisted and dug into her arm. There was no one to hear, anyway. From over by the fireplace came the sprightly chirp of a cricket. No other sound, except their panting, hers and his.
“No. Please...No,” she whispered.
“Why did you have to come?” he asked again. “I can’t stand it. Don’t you see? I have to.” The fingers moved up her two arms, encircled, almost tenderly, her long, pulsing throat...”
When they found her, not long afterward, Alex recognized her at once. It was Marcella. But how could he explain now to Gwen, his wife standing beside him, about the dead girl; about his strange, quickly ended affair with her of the summer before?
It would be impossible to explain to anyone that in a way he understood the reason for her murder. For Marcella had been the congenital victim, “one of those stray cats who always try to follow you home.”