Friday, May 30, 2008

Book Review: Day Keene, This Is Murder, Mr. Herbert and Other Stories (1948)

Collects four stories: "This Is Murder, Mr. Herbert!" (1944); "With Blood in His Eye!" (1945); "Sweet Tooth of Murder" (1944); and "If a Body Met a Body" (1946).

In the evolution of noir, these stories fall somewhere between the silliness of Carroll John Daly's Race Williams stories and the glory days of Gold Medal paperbacks. The middle two stories feature homicide detective Harvey "The Great" Stone, so called because of his ability to pull murderers out of thin air. In his talent for intuiting absurdities, Stone is rather like a hard-boiled Sherlock Holmes, except that Stone is a bland and uninteresting character and Holmes, most readers agree, is not. Grade: D+

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