Saturday, June 9, 2018

Untidy Murder: Review

In Untidy Murder (1947) by Frances & Richard Lockridge, Pam and Jerry North must use all their intuition and sometimes goofy logic to help their friend Lt. Bill Weigand solve the murder of art director Paul Wilming and find Bill's wife--who has been snatched by two sinister yet hopelessly misguided thugs.

Dorian Hunt (aka Mrs. Bill Weigand) is invited to the snazzy offices of Esprit magazine to deliver examples of her fashion drawings. She has high hopes of selling her work to the art director, Paul Wilming, once he has a chance to see what she can do. He never gets that chance. Just moments before Dorian is shown to his office, he is on his way out the very high window of his office. The first policemen on the scene assume he jumped--though why he'd choose to do so right before an important appointment is anybody's guess--and they handle the case as a suicide, soon sending Dorian on her way home.

But when Lt. Bill Weigand arrives home, she's not there. He immediately back tracks over her day...landing at the offices of Esprit magazine and the tail-end of the "suicide" investigation. As soon as Pam North hears about it, she's certain that Dorian must have seen or heard something and the murderer has grabbed Dorian to prevent her from sharing her knowledge with the police. The rest of the story is race against time as Bill gathers evidence that points to murder in the hopes that it will lead him to his wife. The point of view moves back and forth between Bill & the Norths and Dorian & her captors until it leads to a surprising climax which explains exactly who did what with what and to whom.

The vast portions of shifted point of view are a departure for the Lockridges. Other stories find brief passages (usually when Pam finds herself in danger because she's jumped without looking), but this book follows Dorian vs. her captors for much longer periods of time. It really was very nice to get more of her point of view since she so often plays a very minor supporting role to her husband and the Norths.

The Lockridge books--not only the North series, but Heimrich and the others as well--are some of my comfort reading. I pick them up when I want light entertainment and an enjoyable read. Sometimes a very clever twist or plot point is included, but that's definitely not the point of these books for me. If I want clever plots that might mystify me, I'll turn to Christie or Carr...or others. But the Lockridges provide me with comfortable reads with old friends. ★★ and 1/2.

[Finished on 5/9/18]

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