Marilyn K (1960) by Lionel White

Marilyn K by Lionel White

5 Stars (5/10 stars)

“Life is filled with new experiences, but this was one I could have gotten along without. Two dead men in one day is a little hard on the system at best; it makes it sort of rough, when you end up with one of them in the trunk of your car.”

Most men would stop if they saw the luscious Marilyn K. stranded by the side of the road. Sam Russell is no exception. Marilyn’s traveling companion has just been killed in a car crash. He’s a married man, and she doesn’t want to get involved in a scandal. When she begs Sam to drive her to a motel, flashing a suitcase full of cash, it all seems too good to be true…and it is. In the beginning, Sam wants the girl and the money. By morning, he’ll settle for escaping with his life, but it may already be too late. Continue reading “Marilyn K (1960) by Lionel White”

The House Next Door (1956) by Lionel White

The House Next Door by Lionel White

7 Stars (7/10 stars)

“Listen, baby,” he said. “I don’t think you quite understand. There was a dead man there, a man that I have every reason to believe was murdered. Someone murdered him. And someone saw me there in that house.”

Fairlawn Acres is a typical American suburb, full of average, ordinary families. Howard McNally has a beautiful wife and child, but can’t stop thinking about the teenage babysitter. Len Neilsen stumbles into the wrong house after a drunken dinner with his boss, only to find himself “in a strange house, in a strange bedroom, with a man who was very dead.” He doesn’t even know which house it was, since they all look alike.

And Gerald Tomlinson has just stolen $48,000 from the South Shore Bank in a bloody shootout—money he’s determined to keep by any means necessary. Continue reading “The House Next Door (1956) by Lionel White”

The Snatchers (1953) by Lionel White

The Snatchers by Lionel White

6 stars (6/10 stars)

“I know about your kind of man. You’d as soon kill as not. You, and those others in there, you’re all of you alike. All of you cowards and killers.”

The kidnapping went off without a hitch, but pulling a job is one thing; getting away with it is another. Cal Dent has been planning this caper for years and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to make a clean getaway—even murder. But the more time he spends around one of his beautiful hostages, the more reluctant he is to let her go. As his perfect scheme starts falling apart, how far will Dent go to save his own skin? Continue reading “The Snatchers (1953) by Lionel White”

The Three Widows by Bernice Carey (1952)

The Three Widows by Bernice Carey

7 Stars (7/10 stars)

“Elsie seemed to be very calm about the whole thing. She had figured out the reasons—you might even say the excuses—with an astonishing lucidity.

The idea of a woman ‘feeling like murdering her husband’ was not at all inconceivable to her.”

The city of Santa Cruz would rather that no one hear about the dead man on the beach. It is strange that he died of an overdose, yet was found with no pill bottle or personal effects. Still, why disrupt tourist season for what is surely a suicide? The Bladeswells are just passing through town when they happen to overhear a conversation about the death, and two others that have taken place in Yellowstone and Yosemite. “Always middle-aged men an’ no identification, always summer, and in vacation spots, where there’s thousands of tourists coming and going.”

When Mel and Elsie Bladeswell reach the tourist cabins where they have planned to meet their friend Chet, they are amused to find him the target of three husband-hunting widows. The more Mel thinks about those other deaths, however, the less funny it becomes. One of these women may be a little too fond of widowhood. Continue reading “The Three Widows by Bernice Carey (1952)”

Go, Lovely Rose (1954) by Jean Potts

Go Lovely Rose by Jean Potts

8 Stars (8/10 stars)

“Aren’t we ever going to get rid of Mrs. Henshaw? Hasn’t she done enough to Hartley and me without this. She might at least have the decency to die a natural death. But no. She’s got to get herself murdered […] Nothing can stop people like Mrs. Henshaw. I ought to know. I grew up under her thumb.”

Since they were children, Rachel and Hartley Buckmaster have been terrified of the family housekeeper, Rose Henshaw. They can’t even pretend to be sorry when she’s found dead at the bottom of the cellar stairs. But it turns out that Rose may have had a little help falling down those stairs. When her brother Hartley becomes the prime suspect, Rachel must probe the town’s deepest secrets to learn why so many people were so afraid of Rose. Continue reading “Go, Lovely Rose (1954) by Jean Potts”

The Man Who Got Away With It (1950) by Bernice Carey

The Man Who Got Away With It by Bernice Carey

6 stars (6/10 stars)

“It was strange how, since it first came up in the Sterling living room, Inez Bailey’s murder had infused his thoughts. The girl had died; but for him at least the crime still lived, as it must live with her murderer, his inescapable companion. Would the twenty-year-old crime emerge even yet to affect the living?”

Two decades ago, Inez Bailey was found strangled beneath the lilacs. It was a shame, everyone agreed, but, after all, she wasn’t exactly a “nice girl.” With some of the most prominent men in Los Alegres rumored to have been involved with Inez, the town fathers quickly shut down the murder investigation. Everyone went on with their lives and forgot about Inez Bailey, except for one person…her killer. Continue reading “The Man Who Got Away With It (1950) by Bernice Carey”

The Evil Wish (1962) by Jean Potts

The Evil Wish by Jean Potts 1962 book cover

8 Stars (8/10 stars)

“We are stuck with each other and with our left-over murder till death do us part. Death. Not his, but somebody else’s. Because we set death in motion, we geared ourselves for it, and we can’t stop it now, we’ve got to…”

Life with a domineering father hasn’t been easy for Lucy and Marcia Knapp. Dr. Knapp sabotages his daughters’ relationships, endlessly criticizes them, and expects them to wait on him hand and foot. At least, they think, they’ll always have a home with him. Then they overhear their father’s plans to marry his nurse (and give her the house), a disaster that can be averted only by his death. Their father simply has to die. But the two sisters will soon learn to be careful what they wish for. Continue reading “The Evil Wish (1962) by Jean Potts”