Vintage Silver Age Mystery
Just the Facts Category: What — Pseudonymous author
Cloak and Dagger Challenge #44
Key Word: Out
Official 2018 TBR Pile Challenge #3
Date Finished: April 18, 2018
Two men and a woman rob the payroll from a local factory, killing their inside man in the process. Unable to get out of town due to delays and roadblocks, they take the daughter of a local cop as hostage. The cop, a loner, has to figure out what lines he’ll cross and how to rely on others to help get his daughter back.
This novel was supposedly written by the real Ellery Queen duo of Manfred Lee and Frederic Dannay, after a long line of ghostwriters used their pseudonym for very similar 1960s-style thriller mysteries. This one reads much more like those ghostwritten works than any sort of intellectual, fair-play whodunit. In that thriller vein, it isn’t terrible, but it certainly is not up to the standards that the cousins had established over 40 years of writing. They also use a stream-of-consciousness style of writing that is an odd switch. Although it ends with the cop becoming part of the community, the change of character feels tacked on after the independence he has stressed throughout the vast majority of the story.
I finished the other half of this double novel as a teenager back in November 1984. This half, not featuring the Ellery Queen character, has been on the shelf since then.