Friday, May 30, 2014

"This Book Is Mere Excitement for an Hour"

By Richard Washburn Child (1881-1935).
E. P. Dutton.
1920. 324 pages.
Online HERE and HERE.
Richard Child floated through the rarified atmosphere inhabited by high-level politicians and public opinion makers; according to Wikipedia "he rates as one of the most influential American promoters of Italian fascism until his death," but in spite of that he "also wrote a number of crime stories . . . throughout his career." THE VANISHING MEN and THE VELVET BLACK would seem to fit nicely into the "crime stories" category:
[The Vanishing Men is] a mystery story, ingenious but over-melodramatic in its grisly conclusion, even if the "curse" supposed to attach to the girl whose lover and husband "vanish" is cleverly explained and the third man who ventures to seek her love is made happy.
We remember the author's "Jim Hands" as an admirable story of real life; this book is mere excitement for an hour. — "The New Books," THE OUTLOOK (June 2, 1920)
By Richard Washburn Child (1881-1935).
E. P. Dutton.
1921. 387 pages.
Collection: 11 stories.
Online HERE.

(1) "The Velvet Black"
(2) "Identified"
(3) "The Nightingale"
(4) "A Whiff of Heliotrope"
(5) "The Cracking Knee"
(6) "Fiber"
(7) "An Experiment in Resource"
(8) "The Avenger"
(9) "Pode"
(10) "In Dancing Shadows"
(11) "Foxed"
These short stories are almost all centered around horror, danger, and crime impending in absolute darkness. Hence the title. They are ingenious and forceful, but not always agreeable. — "The New Books," THE OUTLOOK (May 25, 1921)
The dramatic skill to create a swift climax and a setting to emphasize the suspense, marks the eleven stories of the underworld which Richard Washburn Child has collected in "The Black Velvet" [sic].
There is a good deal of similarity in the tales, especially in regard to structure—most of them reveal some arresting quality of character upon which the situation is made to turn.
The author understands the value of unity and has the knack of giving verity to a unique circumstance by convincing portrayal of attending commonplace-ness.
The stories seem to reflect an intimate knowledge of the ways of crooks and will satisfy readers who enjoy a thriller of the better sort. — "Recent Books in Brief," THE BOOKMAN (October 1921)

Category: Detective fiction

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