Wednesday, January 20, 2021

"We Are Interested in Murder, Not Larceny"

OUR AUTHOR'S main claim to fame is his four-dozen stories (more or less) featuring New York state police officer Edward "Tiny" David, but today's narrative goes in a different direction, focusing instead on someone called . . .

"Mrs. Murder."
By Robert R. Mill (1895-1942).
Illustrations by Charles Chickering (1891-1970; HERE).
First appearance: Blue Book, October 1939.
Short story (10 pages; 7 illos).
Online at (HERE).
   ". . . when the clippings—they cover a period of over a year—came to the desk of a man who has reason to take interest in what is not too obvious—well—"

In classic private eye style the rent is coming due and business is non-existent—until a client walks through the door with an offer our PI and his brash secretary just can't refuse . . . .

Principal characters:
~ Sue Bickford:
  "She was doubtful about doing it, but the results more than justified her decision."
~ Charles Wood:
  "I haven't any desire to be the subject of a sixth newspaper clipping . . ."
~ Horace Wildron:
  "He is paying for the party, and he has more than a financial interest in it, so why shouldn't he?"
~ Viola Batmos:
  "Maybe we can get together on it—later."
~ The man:
  "You sure can pick 'em."
~ The doctor:
  "He will be all right in a minute or two."
References and resources:
- "one of Mr. Hoover's bright young men": None other than J. Edgar himself. It's been said that Washington is awash in blackmail culture, so it seems plausible that Mr. Hoover could have made the most of it, as alleged; see Wikipedia (HERE).
- "Isn't that nice, Mr. Vanderbilt?": It's likely Cornelius Vanderbilt, the transportation tycoon, is meant; see Wikipedia (HERE).
- "According to Dorothy Parker, they protect a gal from passes": She even got her own postage stamp; see Wikipedia (HERE).
- What we're dealing with here is what's commonly called a "lonely hearts killer," possibly based on the infamous Belle Gunness herself; see Wikipedia (HERE and HERE).
- Another Robert R. Mill story not starring "Tiny" David is "Jail-Bait" (HERE), while two stories featuring Officer David, "Murder on the Island" and "Murder at Dark Lake," are highlighted (HERE).


  1. Mike, Is this the only story involving Bickford and Wood? FictionMags calls this a Tiny David story.

    1. Steve - I really can't say whether or not it was Bickford and Wood's only appearance, but I suspect that it was. FictionMags, that splendid index, got this one wrong; that's happened on one or two other occasions as well. FictionMags doesn't have a series character listing for Bickford and Wood, but they would have made an interesting pair to follow over the course of other adventures. My guess is that Robert Mill simply abandoned the idea.