Thursday, April 21, 2016

An Odd Assortment from '28 (intermezzo)

Here are some more graduates from the Golden Age Class of '28; a few of them sound intriguing enough to merit reprints, but as for the others . . .

(Note to regular readers: The FictionMags listings are proving slippery, with the URLs unexpectedly changing without notice, so starting after this posting we're not linking to that site, although we will continue to refer to it; you're welcome to explore it on your own, of course.)

~ The Murder of Mrs. Davenport by Anthony Gilbert (Lucy Beatrice Malleson, 1899-1973):
   Contemporary review:
   The Outlook, September 5, 1928 by Walter R. Brooks (HERE):
   "It all started at a dinner party, as so many things do, from divorce to ptomaine poisoning. One of the guests was Mrs. Davenport, who many years ago under another name had been tried and acquitted for poisoning her husband. A few days later Mrs. Davenport was found strangled in her apartment. Suspicion pointed to Denis Brinsley, whom she had tried to blackmail, and who was now engaged to the beautiful Lucille Tudor. Suspicion, of course, was wrong. Why and how, you shall learn if you read this not too exciting but plausible and fairly ingenious tale."

   Resources: Wikipedia HERE ... Enotes HERE ... Authors' Calendar HERE ... GAD Wiki HERE ... Mike Grost HERE ... FictionMags HERE ... Thrilling Detective HERE ... and The Passing Tramp HERE and HERE.

~ The New Gun Runners (a.k.a. The Factory on the Cliff) by Neil Gordon (Archibald Gordon Macdonell, 1895-1941):
   Contemporary review:
   The Outlook, November 7, 1928 by Walter R. Brooks (HERE):
   "Quite awful was the plot by which De la Rey and his daughter and their associates expected to do away finally with all war and oppression, and they would have succeeded, too, if it hadn't been for several very inquisitive young men who seemed to have nothing more important to do than peek through windows and gumshoe around other people's back yards. Nevertheless, what with bombs and Bolsheviks and midnight attacks and quite a lot of ruthlessness, it's an exciting story, told not too seriously. Only we feel that with the motor traffic on the roads around London what it is today, it was a little inconsiderate of Mr. Gordon to run so many long processions of cars through the streets. You know the kind of thing. You jump in a taxi and say, 'Follow that car ahead. There's an extra sovereign in it if you don't lose him.' And then a man who has been watching you picks up the next taxi, and a friend of yours who has been watching him picks up the next one, and so on until you have the beginnings of a very respectable parade."

   Resource: Wikipedia HERE.

~ Murder Mansion by Herman Landon (1882-1960):
   Contemporary review:
   The Saturday Review, January 12, 1929 (HERE):
   "This is one of those stories in which the author, determined that something startling shall happen in every chapter, lets nothing come between him and his purpose. If it is unreason-able for a character to have said this, done that, or suppressed the other, and if such unreasonableness will hatch out the desired chapteral surprise, then overboard with the character's sanity. And, say what you will about the story, Mr. Landon did what he set out to do: 'Murder Mansion' has its full share of acrobatics.
   "It deals with young Donald Chadmore, who came home from a western penitentiary, was shadowed by a man with no eyebrows, imprisoned by a man with a silky voice, frightened by a horrible face, called 'big boy'—oh, how many times!—by a childhood sweetheart, accused of murder by a district attorney, bequeathed a haunted house and a family curse by a murdered uncle, and finally brought to wealth, happiness, and freedom from suspicion by loyal servitors. None of the properties of this sort of tale is omitted: all the old company is here, even to the cryptic message on time-yellowed paper."

   Resources: Landon's 'Shadow' story on radio HERE ... IMDb HERE ... Amazon's Herman Landon pages HERE and HERE.


~ The Silk Stocking Murders by Anthony Berkeley (Anthony Berkeley Cox, 1893-1971):
   Contemporary review:
   The Outlook, September 19, 1928 by Walter R. Brooks (HERE):
   "Truly awful was the epidemic of suicides among the young ladies of the theatrical world. First one, then another, would screw a hook into the door of her room and hang herself to it with one of her own silk stockings. Roger Sheringham thought all this rather queer, investi-gated it, and with the help of a girl, several dozen Scotland Yard employees, and the author, brought the murderer to justice. A good deal of time was lost by the inspectors and commis-sioners sitting around and telling each other what a difficult case this was. But the author didn't let them down, and the Yard's reputation was saved. We were puzzled by the use in conversation of the phrase 'I'll buy it' until it occurred to us that it was probably an English author's rendering of the American slang 'I'll bite'."

   Resources: Wikipedia HERE ... GAD Wiki HERE ... Mike Grost HERE ... Mystery*File HERE ... My Reader's Block HERE ... and FictionMags HERE.

~ Murder Will Out by George E. Minot (?-?) (true crime):
   Contemporary review:
   The Outlook, November 28, 1928 by Edward Hale Bierstadt (HERE):
   "Mr. Minot of the 'Boston Herald' has given us twenty-nine murders, all of them American and most of them New England. In digging into the old records and unearthing interesting material the author has done yeoman service. He is not always accurate, however, and he writes rather badly. Here is a lesser Pearson. Nonetheless, no one who is interested in murder, mystery or in crime in general should miss this book."

   Resource: Online HERE.

~ The Secret Brotherhood by John G. Brandon (1879-1941):

   Resource: The GAD Wiki HERE.

~ The Door of Death by John Esteven (Samuel Shellabarger, 1888-1954):
   Contemporary review:
   The Outlook, November 14, 1928 by Walter R. Brooks (HERE):
   "The Baglioni family, who once ruled Perugia, must have been a hard lot. Beside them the Borgias were a group of innocent little romping children. This story deals with two modern scions of that sinister race, Francis and Carl, who lived in a big house full of Italian antiques and instruments of torture. And first every one who lives in the house begins to go Renais-sance and to gloat over blood and treachery, and then the stranglings and tortures begin. Plenty of excitement, but our hero, with the assistance of the detectives Norse and Roose and a couple of platoons of police, comes through at the end with a girl and a couple of bullet holes as mementos."

   Resource: Wikipedia HERE.

~ The Swinging Shutter by C. Fraser-Simson (?-?):
   Contemporary review:
   The Outlook, October 17, 1928 by Walter R. Brooks (HERE):
   "Queer goings on at Aunt Rosa's house at Drumlogan. Shirley couldn't understand them, and neither could we, although we could see that Nurse Jacobs and Dr. Tellman and Lola were up to no good. Obviously Ralph wasn't any use, but we realized from the first that Dallas could be relied on. And all the while the shutter on the old inn swings back and forth, and there isn't any more reason for that than for anything else. Oh well, perhaps we expect too much. You'll probably find it fairly exciting if you don't care why."

   Resource: IMDb for film version of another book by this author HERE.

~ The Enterprising Burglar by Hearnden Balfour:
   Buckingham Books description (HERE):
   "[Hearnden Balfour is the] joint pseudonym of Eva Balfour and Beryl Hearnden. Author's second mystery novel. A burglar, who robs from the rich and distributes to the poor, escapes from a train wreck with the brief case of a dangerous enemy agent. Is this enterprising burglar up to the havoc he's brought upon himself?"

Resource:
- Our previous Class of '28 installment is HERE.

Category: Detective fiction criticism

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