Fredric Brown – The Wench Is Dead (1955)


Vintage Golden Age Mystery
Scavenger Hunt Category: Brunette
Date Finished: June 19, 2016

“Hoods, winos, junkies, B-girls — Here is a hard and violent novel of murder on Skid Row.”

Well, this isn’t all that violent, though this is definitely a wino novel. Here we see the seedy side of Skid Row in Los Angeles, as a Chicago sociology teacher tells himself that he is just studying that side of life during his summer vacation. A couple of murders take place within his small world and he becomes somewhat involved. The mystery gets solved in the end by him, somewhat accidentally, but justice is personal, as is the resolution. This is much more a character study of a man who doesn’t believe he is really an alcoholic, but is just pretending to be one for research purposes. The suspense that was building leads to his own personal doom, rather than one initiated by outside actors, such as the police. A somewhat depressing look at the seedy side of life, but lifted by Brown’s writing and intelligence.

Vintage Golden Scavenger 2016-06-19


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