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dell0081Tuesday for Overlooked movies, I posted on Here’s Flash Casey, one of the two movies featuring his photographer/detective. For Forgotten Books today, I posting of Kent Murdock, a newspaper photographer a bit more sophisticated than Flash. He was featured in some twnety odd novels. The copy I have is a Dell mapback, No. 81. Not sure when this book was published as the mapbacks didn’t start until 1943, lasting about a decade, and the copyright ssays 1940. Likely the hardback’s release date.

Photographer Kent Murdock wouldn’t have gotten into it if he wasn’t worried about Joan English. He went up to the director Curtis Garland’s room, a man with a less than sterling reputation around young actresses. Joan had agreed to come to his room for an audition and even been given a key.

Murdock found the director shot and dead on his bed. A pair of shattered glasses lay on the floor by his side. He snaps a couple of pictures and is about to leave when he catches Joan English hiding in a closet. She swears Garland was already dead when she came in. Murdock believes her and helps her.

Her story was someone had jumped her and shoved her in the closet. In grappling with the man, she ended up with a watch stem in her hand.

Murdock’s idea is to leave and let someone else find the body.

Sounds good.

But the next day the room is empty, no sign of any kind of struggle. Murdock finds a sliver of eyeglass under the bed. That’s it. And a man matching Garland’s description took a flight out of Boston for Hollywood earlier that morning. A telegram is found requesting his immediate return about a picture in production.

Murdock was ready to drop the whole thing. Joan seemed in the clear and thatdell0081back was all he cared about.

Then she disappears!

Her landlady says a man came to her apartment and the pair left shortly. All her clothes and luggage were still in the room. No note explaining her absence. Nothing.

Murdock brings his friend Lt. Bacon in to help with the investigation. Of course he doesn’t tell him everything.

The body needs to be found. Joan needs to be found. And the killer uncovered.

A fine mystery by one of the genre’s masters. He manages several twists in the story as it moves along.

Good stuff.

For more overlooked movies, Evan Lewis is doing the gathering this week so Patti can have a week. He’s over at DAVY CROCKETT’S ALMANACK.