Sally’s in the Alley is where the Doan & Carstairs series shifts into high gear.
In our heroes’ two earlier adventures, “Holocaust House” (HERE) and The Mouse in the Mountain (HERE), the author and supporting characters kept telling us that the amiable, harmless-looking, almost cherubic detective Doan was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, thoroughly unscrupulous and lightning with a gun. We got a glimpse or two of Doan’s true nature, but he kept it pretty well masked.
Carstairs, meanwhile, had some great scenes, but took a back seat to some of the less interesting members of the supporting cast. As one of the most unique characters in mystery fiction, he deserved more time on stage.
Sally’s in the Alley is the book where both Doan and Carstairs reach their full potential - and it’s a great mystery to boot.
First stop is a town called Heliotrope, on the California-Nevada border. Which state the town’s in is under dispute, because the place is so dangerous that neither state will claim it. Doan fits right in, of course. He checks into the local hotel under the name I. Doanwashi, and tells everyone he meets he’s a Japanese spy.
That’s when bodies start piling up, and those Doan doesn’t make himself he manages to pin on someone else. As usual, there are plenty of quirky characters, including a movie star named Susan Sally, who, contrary to the title, does not end up in an alley.
The Norbert Davis brand of humor is on display throughout, and here are three prime examples:
The three screen captures above are from the Kindle version of this book available free at Munseys.com. You can get that HERE.
Here's the lowdown on DOAN & CARSTAIRS Week:
MONDAY: "Holocaust House" (1940) HERE.
TUESDAY: The Mouse in the Mountain (1943) HERE
TODAY: Sally's in the Alley (1943)
THURSDAY: Oh, Murderer Mine (1946)
FRIDAY: The novelette most Doan & Carstairs fans have never seen: "Cry Murder!" (1944) Read the whole thing here.
"Never Say Die," a Norbert Davis story from Detective Fiction Weekly, appears HERE.
And you'll find "One Man Died," a Davis novelette from DFW, HERE.