Friday, July 12, 2019

Killing the Goose

Killing the Goose (1944) is the seventh Mr. & Mrs. North mystery by Frances & Richard Lockridge. I have three editions of this book (hardback, Armed Services Edition, and an Avon pulp-era pocket-size. I've had the novel on my shelves in one form or another since 2010 and have actually read it before--but never for the Mount TBR Challenge. The Lockridge books, especially their Mr. & Mrs. North series, are comfort reads for me. They are fun, entertaining, light cozy mysteries. Some of them are even pretty fair-play for the Golden Age purists. But that's night why I read them. I read them because they're comfortable. And I enjoy the interactions between Pam and Jerry and between the Norths and Lt. Weigand and Sgt. Mullins. I love that Mullins dreads how screwy things can get when the Norths get involved and, yet, he's very attached to them. I like how the Lockridges work cats into the story without making them too cutesy or somehow having them "solve" the mystery.

This story lands Pam and Jerry North smack in the middle of another killing spree. It begins with Bill Weigand giving an example of just how routine his policeman's lot has been lately. It involves a file clerk killed in a diner. She and her boyfriend were overheard having an argument. He leaves and she's found dead in the booth. As Weigand's boss, Inspector O'Malley, says, it's a nice and easy one. "Nothing fancy." A lover's spat ending in death. 

But then Pam gets set on the clue of the baked apple. That, to coin a phrase, upsets the apple cart. Because if Frances McCalley ate a baked apple, then it couldn't have happened the way the police think it happened. Then another woman is found dead. This time it's Ann Lawrence who lives on the other end of the social spectrum. She has been hit with a poker and, again, it looks easy. Another argument with a boyfriend and another dead woman. But...Pam finds another snag. This time it's a dress. The dress Frances had on when she was killed was given to her guessed it...Ann Lawrence. To add to the fun, Pam begins insisting, as only Pam can, that someone has stolen a famous voice from the radio. As Mullins would say, now it's just plain screwy.

hard copy cover
Killing the Goose is an exciting chain of events from the dramatic scene in the diner to the socialite's missing money to the unexpected happenings in the telephone booth to the grand finale in a radio broadcast studio. Even knowing the killer in advance didn't dampen my enthusiasm for this madcap mystery. I spent more time in this reading paying attention to the details of conversations and characters since I didn't have to keep my eyes peeled for clues. ★★★★

[Finished on 6/24/19]

Four deaths = 2 stabbed, one hit on head, one shot

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