This month’s read is:
“Creasey Mystery Magazine” (v1 n1, August 1956)
UK: Dalrow Publishing
NOTE: the first three issues sported identical covers in different colors)
Edited by Leslie Syddall and John Creasey.
The lead is John Creasey’s own new short story, “The Toff and the Terrified Lady,” a short novelette of 16 pages. Richard Rollison has Jolly tail a young lady that is in fear for her life, running from two “dark” men. Later learned that she is a jewelry model, and coerced into allowing herself to be taken and the jewels heisted. Held hostage is her brother’s baby child.
Next up is Agatha Christie’s popular Hercule Poirot in “The Arcadian Deer.” Here we have an ass of a detective that is preeningly full of himself. I found him loathsomely pompous. While traveling out into the countryside, his super wealthy high-maintenance automobile has “car”-diac arrest (ha ha) and he demands a chambermaid light a fire and serve him. Good grief. Rude prick. (Thankfully this was a vintage tale, else she’d service him in other ways!) Whilst stuck in this faraway village, a young man approaches him, and begs Hercules to take his meagerly saved earnings to track a young lady he fell in love with. Remarkably, he takes on the task, and travels through various countries on his own funding (the young man scarcely had the funds to allow himself the honor of buffing Hercule’s shoes!)…eventually it is found the girl is dead, but, things aren’t adding up quite right….
“Orchids on Monday” by Dennis Wheatley was a pleasurably fun romp, more because the tale is not a detective yarn in the normal sense. When a fellow falls visually for a young lady, after dropping her off at her house, he desires to find SOME WAY of introducing himself to her (that isn’t sleazy or creepy). Coincidentally, he sees an ad in the newspaper with her home address and the cryptic “orchids on Monday” inserted. A clue? Was she reaching out to HIM? A delivers but finds her not at home, waits off in the bushes only to espy another fellow drive up and walk her inside. Not one to give up, he waits…and waits…the fellow comes out but ushers in two hoodlums! What is going on here?
Louis Golding delivers a “Foolproof Murder.” It’s your typical “hate” story, as the undefined reason for murdering someone else. Opportunity presents itself just a foggy, fireworks holiday but he hears the soon-to-be-deceased utter that he knows the killer is in the fog. The crime is committed, the man dies, and our killer runs away, but the ghost of the death haunts him and he returns to the scene of the crime only to be goaded to his own death by either the voice of the ghost or simply a voice in his own head…which?
American crime writer Dashiell Hammett joins the fray with “The Farewell Murder.” The story is annoying (to me) because the detective’s name is never given. Granted, those in-the-know are aware that the character is the Continental Op, and that in truth, DH never reveals his name in ANY story. (I hate that) Further, he employs dishonest methods to bring his case(s) to a finale. Sure, why not? Happens in real life all the time….when a wealthy man is murdered, all eyes are turned upon the man whom has reportedly been submitting death threats. But DH never gives readers a simple read, nor a simple solution. One thing is certain: the thin man is not the hero, nor was he in the movies….(thank you, Hollywood! Idiots.)
Victor Canning’s “The Key” made me wish I had taken speed-reading lessons as a youth. ’nuff said.
“The Case of the Frightened Promoter” by Julian Symons features the regular Francis Quarles, whom is brought in to investigate death threats. He decides to blow off the case as irrelevant and the supposed killer, as inept. But when the man is found bludgeoned to death to the point of zero facial recognition, Quarles reinserts himself to the case and unwraps a scheme dating back many years….
Beyond a doubt, the worst tale is the short-short “Death Runs Wild!” by Nigel Morland, featuring the dreadful Mrs. Pym. The tale ends absurdly with her merely staring a man down until he confesses. Gag!