Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Prescription for Murder

Prescription for Murder was written by Alan Hynd, "the greatest crime reporter of them all." Funny, that I'd never heard of him. Apparently he was a "true crime" reporter for True Detective Stories and other pulp magazines. I picked this particular book up because it was a first edition, pocket size (just the kind of thing I collect), but I can honestly say that's the biggest attraction that this holds for me.

Hynd's writing strikes me as a mix of straight up reporting, as well as a yellow journalism streak that reminds me of National Enquirer, and penny dreadfuls. He goes from "just the facts, ma'am" to fanciful, lurid drama suitable for the pulps very quickly...and all in one story. The stories themselves are quite horrible--every one of them about a doctor gone bad (usually for money). It's a shame that Hynd's writing goes bad as well.

I finished this book more so I could say I had and then place it on my first-edition, pocket-size edition, show-it-off shelf than anything. Some of the stories were familiar to me (particularly the tale of Dr. Cream), and all of them have a certain horrid fascination. In the hands of a more adept writer, these stories could have been quite spine-tingling (and more suitable for the Halloween season). Two stars out of five--an extra star being given for its first-edition, collectible status. Not highly recommended.

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