THE CRIME WAVE
By Dashiell Hammett
THE NOOSE. By Philip MacDonald. Dial. $2.
BLUE RUM, By Ernest Souza. Cape & Smith. $2.50.
THE BLACK DOOR. By Virgil Markham. Knopf. $2.
FOLLOWING FOOTSTEPS. By J. Jefferson Farjeon. Dial. $2.
The materials of "THE NOOSE" are not in any way novel. Anthony Ruthven Gethryn is the usual gifted amateur who stands high in the graces of Scotland Yard because in the past he has helped the Yard solve mysteries that had it stumped. He is a drawling gentleman who is sometimes whimsical, sometimes facetious, and says "y’know" and "p’r’aps." His wife is beautiful and admires him, as do most women. His current task is to keep one Daniel Bronson from being unjustly hanged for the murder of a man named Blackatter in Bellows Wood. Bronson, ex-pugilist proprietor of the Horse and Hound, has had the misfortune to be found lying on the ground —apparently he stumbled while running away from the scene of his crime and knocked his head against a stump —with a discharged shotgun in his hands not far from where his enemy Blackatter lay with some of his head blown off. There was plenty of other evidence against the unfortunate Bronson: in his pocket was a letter from Blackatter making an appointment with him to Bellows Wood that night; a witness had heard him threaten Blackatter in the Horse and Hound earlier that day. All that happened months ago. Now Gethryn, convinced of the condemned man's innocence, has from Thursday to Monday to save him from the gallows. He sets out to save him by finding the real murderer. With his wife, Chief Detective Inspector Pike and two reporters from the paper of which he is part owner, Gethryn goes to Farrow and
"BLUE RUM,” on the other hand, has a lot of good material in it and fresh backgrounds, but both are so ineptly handled that the result is very faintly exciting at first and something less than that further on. Roy Overton, mining engineer, young, out of work, nearly penniless, lands in Lisbon in search of a job. His poverty leads him to a room in the weird Penaao Juliana. Shocking things happen then. When Overton can stand them no longer he leaves to take lodgings with Ericson, a fellow American. That night pompous Senhor Alfonso, proprietor of the Penaao Juliana, and his wife are murdered. The Lisbon police suspect Overton. Later he and Ericson return to the house to hunt
“THE BLACK DOOR" deals with adventures of Tom Stapleton—another young American abroad—in Kestrel Eyrie, the ancestral castle of the Veryans on Ramsay Island near the coast of Pembrokeshire. Gathered there are Sir Anthony, the head of the family, Arthura and Robert Veryan, Hector Brasonby, and James Mottram, to await the doom that has already struck down four members of the family. Later they are joined by Charles Norshire, who claims kinship with them, but is murdered before his claim can be proven false. Then a poet comes to
There is no mystery in "FOLLOWING FOOTSTEPS.'' John Trestle, a diluted-Locke sort of character, saves a pickpocket named Mary from arrest, tries to save her from a life of crime, stands between her and the former accomplices who pursue her, and, through her nobility, is finally reunited to the lovely lady Beatrice Warrener, It is all pretty thin.
Recommended: "THE NOOSE."