My selection this week for Patti Abbott’s Forgotten Books is COME SEVEN/COME DEATH, from 1965, a selection of mysteries by seven different authors, each selecting their own favorite story. Herein we have five private eyes, one attorney, and one police officer.
1: THE GUILTY PARTY – Richard S. Prather: Shell Scott in a humorous tale where he functions as an exterminator for a bed “bug” planted under his beautiful client…leaving a very grateful young woman. Right up Shell’s alley.
2: THE CORPSE MAKER – Harold Q. Masur: attorney Scott Jordan, as two-fisted as any private eye, as he finds a client beaten nearly to death and traces one beating after another running down the culprits. His only clue is his client’s last words before the ambulance carried him away. “SKinner,” a name, and “Tom’s rock!”
3: THE MEMORY GUY – Henry Kane: Pete Chambers solves a murder, proving his client innocent, when he shows that the murderer knew something he shouldn’t.
4: WITH FRAME TO MATCH – Frank Kane: PI Johnny Liddell first appeared in a 1944 pulp story. A young woman hires him to go to her home town and prove her brother innocent of the murder he is charged with committing. Liddell gets their just in time to find the young man hanging in his cell, apparently a suicide with his own tie. The whole thing smelled.
5: TOO MUCH LIKE MURDER – Johnny Craig: Police officer Pete Selby has a murder to solve. Rich man Neal Cranston had been shot. His brother, Howard, was sitting out front when the shot went off according to an eyewitness. Suspects were plenty: the wife played around, Neal may have played around as a young woman came by several times a week, and she in turn had a jealous boy friend.
6: THE SHAKEDOWN – Richard Deming: PI Manny Moon lost a leg during WWII, but that didn’t stop him. A metal and aluminum leg slowed him hardly at all. He was having dinner with friends, Alderman Jessup and his wife when, as they were leaving, a bomb went off, killing Mrs. Jessup. Moon raced outside to see a man previously thrown out of the restaurant running from a wrecked car. he’d been spouting off about paying “protection’ money when ousted. it was the third restaurant bombed in the last week. Moon was the only one who suspected more was going on than extortion.
7: BABY SISTER – Stephen Marlowe: Chester Drum is hired by a woman in France to find out why little sister was throwing money around like it had gone out of style. It turned out to be much more than anyone expected.
Seven fine stories. My biggest problem with this book was the back cover. A small bit about each of the stories, they actually gave away the solution in one of them. I was of course familiar with Shell Scott and Chester Drum and knew of Pete Selby, though I hadn’t read anything of him until this one The rest were new to me, though they, along with those I knew, appeared in numerous novels and short stories.
I think I have more books to find for my TBR pile.