• U.S.

Books: Murder in October, Nov. 2, 1942

2 minute read

THE EMPEROR’S SNUFF BOX—John Dickson Carr—Harper ($2). How a harassed and suggestible young Englishwoman was saved from almost certain conviction as the slayer of her fiance’s father by the supershrewd deductions of Dr. Kinross, specialist in criminal psychology. A brilliant exercise in detecting, a chilling adventure in careful, cold-blooded villainy, a sterling bit of craftsmanship even though one important bit of evidence is held back.

THE FOURTEENTH TRUMP—Judson P. Philips—Dodd. Mead ($2). The tough and tricky tale of a Manhattan hotel-room murder that puts a pretty girl in the shadow of the chair, leads Broadway Gambler Danny Coyle and his Harvard-graduate assistant through a dexterously crooked bridge club to a shoot-it-out finish. Credible tough-guy stuff, well packed with excitement.

CUE FOR MURDER—Helen McCoy— Morrow ($2). The actor who portrayed a dying man in a Manhattan revival of Sar-dou’s Fedora turns out to be very dead indeed when the curtain goes down. Psychiatrist-detective Basil Willing, working on tenuous clues and a wide knowledge of abnormal psychology, finally snares a persistent and excellently hidden criminal in a trap that almost ends the doctor’s own career. Credible stage atmosphere and an airtight plot.

THE MOVING FINGER—Agatha Christie —Dodd, Mead ($2). Grey-haired Miss Marple, whose innocent face conceals a good deal of criminal knowledge and detecting skill, stops her knitting long enough to present the puzzled police with the solution of a poison-pen plot that leads to suicide and murder. A smoothly flowing and flawlessly constructed story.

MOTHER FINDS A BODY—Gypsy Rose Lee—Simon & Schuster ($2). The ribald and revealing antics of a bunch of traveling burleycuers on the Texas border, and what they did about a couple of unwanted corpses that turned up in their trailer. Has its points as a detective story and its moments of truth as a chronicle of life among strippers, tassel-tossers and the like; also a few amusingly snide remarks. But the show-stuff pretty much follows the party line laid down in The G-String Murders.

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