Rufus King – Holiday Homicide (1940)


Vintage Golden Age Mystery
Scavenger Hunt Category: Any Other Holiday Object
Date Finished: June 17, 2016

This was a tough category to complete, but found references to this ebook on various blogs. The cover reference to Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin is very misleading, as this does not come across as an intended spoof of Nero Wolfe at all. This is a quirky detective, and one in the Van Dine school, but this is not a parody nor a slavish imitation. Certainly this detective, Cotton Moon, has a specific interest in a topic, a la Wolfe’s orchids. In this case it is nuts. He also has a chef and an assistant. He lives aboard a yacht, however, and is not limited in his mobility or his actions by his weight or any other issue. The story is narrated by his assistant, and that assistant does some, though not all, of his legwork. Still, the reveal is not the typical one of Wolfe in which all characters are gathered together in the office.

The story here revolves around a yacht, with Moon’s yacht moored nearby. A rich man is found dead aboard ship and his former step-son is accused by the police. A number of people on board had motives, however, and Moon is asked to investigate. For much of the story, the yacht is docked over New Year’s in New York amid a snowstorm, but they later are allowed by the police to take the yacht to the Caribbean, as well, where additional action takes place on the dead man’s estate there. King does very well with the mystery and I look forward to finding more of his work. It seems to be somewhat of a blend of the last two mysteries I read, the setting of Death Is a Stowaway  and the detective pair of Hue and Cry. I probably should have spaced these out somewhat more. Now for something completely different.

Vintage Golden Scavenger 2016-06-17


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