Saturday, March 14, 2015

"Detective-story Addicts May Be Divided, As Roughly As You Feel Like Handling Them, Into Two Classes . . ."

"Selected Detective Fiction."
By J. Ketch.
Scribner's, December 1936.
Online HERE.

This seems to be the only review signed by "J. Ketch" that we can locate. See if you agree with all of his thumbnail assessments from the Golden Age of Mystery Fiction (the capitals seem appropriate). A few partial excerpts:
Detective-story addicts may be divided, as roughly as you feel like handling them, into two classes: Class A, the man (or woman) who revels in great gobs of gore, palpitating action, tough language, and a detective who can shoot it out with the wickedest of killers; Class B, the man (or woman) who likes a genteel, not-too-frightful murder, a plenitude of infinitesimal clues, a tweed-clad detective who punctuates every movement with scotch and soda, and a sober, slow, but relentless, pursuit of clues and destruction of indestructible alibis until the inevitable end. The following selection from an unusually large and healthy fall and winter output of detective stories is intended to be a judicious admixture of the two classes.  . . .
. . . [Re: Van Dine's The Kidnap Murder Case] has more gun-play and less erudition than other Vance exploits, with the customary water-tight plot and impeccable sleuthing.  . . . [GAD Wiki review is HERE.]
. . . [Re: Christie's Murder in Mesopotamia has] a colorful archeological background atoning for certain weaknesses in the tale.  . . . [GAD Wiki review is HERE.]
. . . [Re: Wheatley's Crime File No. 1: On Bolitho Blane] A super-clever stunt-book, but no masterpiece as a story.  . . .
. . . [Re: Knight's The Wheel That Turned is an] excellent example of the nutmeg and codfish school . . . [GAD Wiki info about Kathleen Moore Knight is HERE.]
. . . [Re: Disney's Death in the Back Seat is one in which] a young artist and his wife encounter murder, kidnaping, robbery, and general frightfulness on a "quiet vacation."  . . . [GAD Wiki review is HERE.]
. . . [Re: In A Puzzle for Fools Quentin] chooses comparatively virgin soil for the scene of his story — a sanitarium for wealthy neurotics and complete nuts where a peculiarly cold-blooded murderer breaks loose.  . . . [At the Scene of the Crime review HERE.]
. . . [Re: Coffin's The Forgotten Fleet Mystery has an] unusual and exceptionally spooky background . . . [The real "Geoffrey Coffin" is discussed HERE.]
. . . [Re: Walling's The Corpse With the Floating Foot] The atmosphere is delightful, the talk good, and the puzzle a hard one to solve.  . . . [GAD Wiki review HERE.]
. . . [Re: In Bush's The Body in the Bonfire] principal puzzle is that of a man whose hand committed a murder tomorrow but who, himself, was killed yesterday — all very perplexing and pleasant reading.  . . . [GAD Wiki review HERE.]
. . . [Re: Croft's Man Overboard is] a sober-sided opus with one tiny mistake leading the killer to his doom.  . . . [GAD Wiki review HERE.]
. . . [Re: Bailey's A Clue for Mr. Fortune features] The ace of all British fictional sleuths . . . [Much about H. C. Bailey is HERE.]
. . . [Re: Heyer's  Behold, Here's Poison! is] a glittering tale of poisoning in a quarrelsome English family, solved by a thoroughly malicious and supremely delightful young Britisher.  . . . [Info about Georgette Heyer is HERE.]
. . . [Re: Bentley's Trent's Own Case] contains some interesting information about wines, among other engrossing matters.  . . . [E. C. Bentley is discussed HERE.]
. . . [Re: Doyle's The Complete Sherlock Holmes features] the mightiest of all detectives . . . [The illustrated Holmes stories are HERE.]
. . . [Re: Oppenheim's omnibus Spies and Intrigues] contains his best mystery novel . . . [More about E. Phillips Oppenheim is HERE.]

Category: Detective and spy fiction

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