The So Blue Marble (1940) by Dorothy B. Hughes

Book cover of The So Blue Marble by Dorothy B Hughes (1940)

6 stars (6/10 stars)

“It isn’t as easy as that to have murders forgotten.”

He was deliberately patronizing. “It is obvious that you are lacking in experience, dear Griselda.”

Griselda Satterlee is no stranger to drama. Once a movie star, Griselda abandoned Hollywood three years ago to forge a new career in New York. It’s a peaceful life. At least, until she meets the twins.

On her way home one evening, Griselda is snatched by a pair of sinister men who force their way into her apartment. The kidnappers are handsome twins, one dark and one fair, impeccable in white tie and tails. They don’t want to hurt her (they claim) but are willing to do anything to secure “the very blue marble.” Anything.

Griselda would be happy to hand over the marble, if she only knew where it was. Her quest for the little blue trinket soon turns into a living nightmare that threatens everyone she holds dear.

Continue reading “The So Blue Marble (1940) by Dorothy B. Hughes”

Better Off Dead (1951) by Helen McCloy

Better Off Dead by Helen McCloy book cover

5 Stars (5/10 stars)

“One of you four nice people tried to murder me fifteen years ago, and I want to find out which one of you it was.”

More than a decade ago, Stephen Longworth fled the small city of Yarborough, Pennsylvania. Back then he was Frank Bly, a teenage boy dazzled by his wealthy employers, especially the lady of the house, Tessie Vanbrugh. But things went very wrong for Frank. Now he’s returning to find out why.

Though now a successful author, Stephen has never forgotten what happened to him in Yarborough, and he’s never forgotten Tessie. No one in town suspects that new arrival Stephen Longworth is really Frank Bly, for one very good reason: They all believe Frank Bly was murdered fifteen years ago.

And he’s come back, to solve his own murder.

Continue reading “Better Off Dead (1951) by Helen McCloy”

Death Takes a Wife (1959) by Anthony Gilbert

Death Takes a Wife by Anthony Gilbert

6 stars (6/10 stars)

“The whole of his past life with Blanche closed up behind him like one of those vanishing roads in the ancient fairy tale. Turn your head and there’s nothing to be seen. Not darkness, not shadows even, just nothing, because until now nothing real has existed.”

There is an unsolved mystery in my city, the disappearance of a young woman. Everybody knows that the friends who saw her last conspired to cover up her death. Even the most cursory Google search by employers or potential dates will reveal that they have been convicted of murder in the court of public opinion. These accusations will follow them until the case is solved…if that ever happens.

If they are guilty, this is something like justice—maybe the only justice the victim and her family will ever receive. But if they are innocent, they are living a nightmare.

This dilemma fascinates me, and must have fascinated Anthony Gilbert as well, since Death Takes a Wife is at least the third book of hers dealing with characters who have been accused, but not convicted, of a crime. How do you carry on with life knowing that everyone you meet believes you’ve gotten away with murder?  Continue reading “Death Takes a Wife (1959) by Anthony Gilbert”