Vintage Silver Age Mystery
Just the Facts Category: Where — At a Theatre/Circus/other place of performance
TBR #72 (45e, 27p)
Date Finished: June 25, 2019
An undercover private detective, working for a pharmaceutical company that is about to come out with a new wonder drug, is killed in a Times Square movie theater. His agency asks Johnny Liddell to go undercover, investigate the death, and prevent the theft of the wonder drug. Meanwhile, the mob is enticing the lead scientist to leak the drug out to benefit the poor of Cuba, or so she is told.
The mob must have hated Johnny Liddell as he seems to have taken them on at every novel opportunity. Here it is limited with a couple of thugs from out of town that beat up Johnny’s secretary and then depart. Others take care of each other once Johnny foils their plot. The initial extensive set up of the research laboratories at the drug company are largely abandoned once Johnny arrives, with his cover blown immediately, leading to a strange disconnect between halves of the story. The charm or distinctiveness of Johnny Liddell is also largely missing here, as the series peters out, with nine more novels to go over the next four years.