David Alexander – The Murder of Whistler’s Brother (1956)

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Vintage Golden Age Mystery
Scavenger Hunt Category: Any Other Animal
Date Finished: April 18, 2017
Follow the Clues step #25: from Brother to Brother

I was looking forward to reading this one, solely based on the title, but it unfortunately did not live up to expectations. It opens in the middle of the murder trial of a mob lieutenant, aka Joe the Whistler, for the killing of a Broadway impresario. Based on the testimony of Bret Hardin, Broadway newspaper man and the hero of this series, the eyewitness testimony of the witness placing the mobster at the scene of the crime is thrown out and the case dismissed. Supposedly, with the case having advanced so far, double jeopardy is invoked and the mobster could never be tried again. At this point, it is obvious that this is the guilty party and the rest of the mystery is Hardin trying to figure out how he was tricked into his testimony and how to get the Whistler. The Whistler’s brother also dies at one point, justifying the title.

In fact, the whole thing seems to be an exercise trying to fit the story into the pre-determined title. Many characters are thrown in, especially in the first three pages, that I had a tough time remembering who was who. Hardin is supposed to be running a newspaper, but doesn’t seem to worry much about deadlines or responsibilities. And, of course, we know who the murderer is from the beginning, not necessarily intentionally, so it seems a somewhat pointless exercise.

Vintage Golden Scavenger 2017-04-18

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