I read this back in December and I made no notes so I'm relying solely on my memory of the book. Sorry to report though only one month has passed I don't remember much. Craig really has a knack for dreaming up some of the strangest people to populate these police procedurals. But this time no real standouts in the cast , but the cast of male characters is made up of a variety of the usual weirdos and oddballs. There's a Casper Milquetoast medievalist, a very strange doctor who seems to have strayed out of a Sax Rohmer book from the 1920s, a hired killer who uses an icepick as his weapon of choice, and one of those drop dead gorgeous Lotharios Craig always throws into the works. Apart from the victim who turns out to be a nasty piece of work the women characters, usually one of Craig's strengths, failed to stick in my cluttered mind.
This one was rather a low point in the series for me. Craig seems to be repeating himself and made the plot overly complicated this time by adding a mobster subplot with a hitman looming in the background. The victim turns out to be yet another in a long line of blackmailers who went too far. I'm tiring of that angle. Pete and Stan do yeoman-like police work as usual. Detection is not as good as in some of the other entries, but there's enough to elevate this book away from some of the lesser, similar Gold Medal crime novels.
|Another censored Belmont Tower cover|
As those voiceovers go on TV here's the "previously on Pretty Sinister Books" section. Titles marked with an asterisk are the best of the bunch.
The Dead Darling (1955)*
Morgue for Venus (1956)
Case of the Cold Coquette (1957)*
Case of the Beautiful Body (1957)
So Young, So Wicked (1957)* - not part of the Pete Selby/Stan Rayder series
Case of the Petticoat Murder (1958)*
Case of the Nervous Nude (1959)*