Friday, April 2, 2010
Forgotten Book: The Mouse in the Mountain by Norbert Davis
With him is Carstairs, the Great Dane he won in a poker game. While Great Danes are normally big, Carstairs bigger, more on the lines of a horse, and described as “sort of a new species.” He’s cranky, vain, and obstinate, but obeys commands such as “Up-si-daisy”, “Boom”, and “Hike” when he feels like it. He and Doan make a great team.
And these two are only the beginning of this book’s wacky characters. Almost everyone in Davis's cockeyed world is either goofy or somewhat larcenous. The closest thing I know of in contemporary fiction is I.J. Parnham’s Fergus and Randolph western series, which I reviewed HERE.
Davis is known and admired today mainly for his three Doan and Carstairs novels (the others are Sally in the Alley, 1943, and Oh, Murderer Mine, 1946) and a collection of five Max Latin, p.i, stories from Dime Detective. But he wrote much, much more, for Black Mask, Detective Tales, Detective Fiction Weekly and many other mags. One major market was Argosy, where he sold not only mystery stories but adventure stories, historicals and westerns. The Doan and Carstairs books are once again available, but there's a ton of work that still needs reprinting.
I posted one of his Detective Fiction Weekly stories, “Never Say Die”, here yesterday, and invite you to check it out. I’ll be putting up more of his work soon.
Visit Patti Abbott's pattinase for links to more of this week's Forgotten Books.