Friday, November 15, 2013

The Death of a Cad in a Cab

By Octavus Roy Cohen.
Dodd, Mead & Co.

Mary Reed reviews Octavus Roy Cohen's novel (MYSTERY*FILE, 10 January 2009): 
On a sleety December night taxi-driver Spike Walters picks up a fare at Union Station. The well-dressed, veiled woman instructs Walters to drive to a poorer part of town but when he arrives at the address given, she has vanished from his cab, leaving her suitcase—and a man's body.
From THE OUTLOOK (February 22, 1922), archived here:
The mystery of a murder is cleverly put before the reader. A woman, carrying a bag, gets into a supposedly empty taxicab at midnight at a railway station and orders the driver to take her to a certain address. When he gets there, the woman is not in the cab, but a murdered man is; and the bag handed to the driver by the woman turns out to belong to this murdered man and contains his clothes. The driver is honest and innocent. The explanation is logical, if not quite probable.
And this from THE BOOKMAN (April 1922), archived here:
. . . an intriguing detective story contingent on the murder of a man of wealth and position. The charming fiancee of the murdered man, her brother, the beautiful and unhappy wife of a middle-aged financier, her sister the young flapper who plays such an important part in untangling the mystery, a valet, a taxi driver, and the chief of police are all well drawn characters who fit smoothly into the plot and in their turn excite our sympathy, amusement, and distrust, feeding the flame of curiosity to the end.
The GADetection Wiki has an entry on Cohen. MIDNIGHT is available in several formats on PROJECT GUTENBERG.

See also Michael Grost's entry on his GUIDE TO CLASSIC MYSTERY AND DETECTION
Coincidence is often seen simply as an artistic flaw. However, coincidence in [Anna Katharine] Green and [Octavus Roy] Cohen is viewed somewhat differently. These writers see coincidences, which do sometimes happen in real life, as the causal source of serious problems, often tragic and even mysterious. So the mystery plots of the stories often start with some terrible coincidence occurring, a bad event that causes all sorts of further problems and mystification.
The UNZ index lists 204 items for Cohen, some of them relating to detective fiction.

Category: Detective fiction

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