This column appeared in the May 24, 1930 issue of the New York Evening Post.
MANHATTAN NIGHT. By William Almon Wolff. Minton, Balch. $2.
THE MAN WHO WAS THERE. By N. A. Temple-Ellis. Dutton. $2.
THE DEATH OF COSMO REVERE. By Christopher Bush. Crime Club. $2.
WHAT HAPPENED TO FORESTER. By E. Phillips Oppenheim. Little, Brown. $2.
F-L-A-S-H D.13. By Victor K. Kaledin. Coward-McCann. $2.50.
“THE SCARAB MURDER CASE," latest Philo Vance figment, revolves around the murder of a philanthropist in a museum in Gramercy Park. The museum and the house adjoining it are cluttered up with Egyptian spoils, Egyptians and Egyptologists. Hani, the bearded Copt, says Sakhmet, Egyptian goddess of vengeance, bashed in the philanthropist's skull; District Attorney Markham and Sergeant Heath accuse Dr. Mindrum W. C. Bliss, head of the museum; Philo Vance insists that there are too many clues pointing too obviously at Dr. Bliss. You can imagine who is proven right by the final outcome. The plot has several interesting twists, though its ending is not altogether convincing and its course is slowed up by the irrelevant profundities that Mr. Van Dine's public is supposed to expect of him. Markham and Heath are as incomparably inefficient, as amazingly ignorant of even beat-walking police routine, as ever.
“THE MAN WHO WAS THERE" is a first-rate fable of murder and other wild doings on the Isle of Wight, with people who are not what they seem, much deviltry in the dark along the edges of cliffs and in the bungalow, where the mysterious Mr. Flyte was done in. Montrose Arbuthnot and Sir Edmund King are the sleuths, stumbling into the mystery via the much-used busman's holiday route. The latter part of the book is weakened by too much new stuff sprung on the reader and by the necessity the author is under of turning handsprings to extricate himself from the excellent tangle he had contrived earlier in the story
“WHAT HAPPENED TO FORESTER" is composed of ten short stories or encounters with more or less odd characters and events that an Oppenheim Englishman of the Monte-Carlo-frequenting sort had. Most of the stories are rather thin and, in spite of underlying variety, pretty much alike—facile merchandise for the magazines.
Recommended with reservations given above: "Manhattan Night," "The Man Who Was There" and "The Death of Cosmo Revere."