Stewart Sterling – Five-Alarm Funeral (1942)


Vintage Golden Age Mystery
Just the Facts Category: How — Crime involved fire/arson
Cloak and Dagger Challenge #60
Date Finished: May 18, 2018

Fire Marshall Pedley investigates a series of arsons and associated deaths by a couple of hired arsonists. Somehow the fires are tied to a society girl and her father who runs a charity organization, as well as to a strange, black railroad lantern, holding a fire that won’t go out. Pedley fights fires and races against time before there are more murders.

The first in the Fire Marshall Pedley series, this one has a much tougher Pedley character than I remember from reading the second in the series, Where There’s Smoke. Here he isn’t terribly sympathetic, especially when encountering a gay character. The action and prose very clearly show Sterling’s pulp background, with logic taking a backseat to action. It is rather exciting, though.

Just the Facts Golden Card 2018-05-18

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