Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The Restless Corpse

The Restless Corpse (1947) by Alan Pruitt

Don Carson, the Chicago Globe's top crime reporter, is tapped by "Old Man Holiday," the newspaper's publisher, to track down his wayward daughter April. April has run off from the family home in New York City and Holiday is afraid she'll get herself into some kind of trouble that will splash her name across the pages of other people's newspapers. Carson catches up with her twice--only to be outwitted by the bewitching brunette. He finally catches up with her at an apartment in Chicago (which she has taken under the clever pseudonym of April Hall) where she is hosting one stop in a traveling apartment party in the high-class building where she's living. 

April admits defeat and promises to go home like a good girl, but she can't resist one last trick. She doctors Carson's drink and he wakes up hours later in a darkened room with a fresh corpse on the other couch. The murdered man is Archie Hertz, husband of a rather promiscuous woman who may have been looking to inherit the means to let her hook up with a younger man. Carson decides his first duty is to the boss's daughter and he's intent on keeping her out of a murder inquiry. So, they take Archie and station him on a convenient park bench far from the apartment, congratulate themselves on quick thinking (and no observers), and head back to the apartment....only to find that Archie has reappeared. He's the corpse that won't stay put. 

Since the scheme to ditch the body doesn't work, Carson figures he might as well start investigating and solve the murder before the police discover it's been committed--outwitting whoever is trying to pin the rap on April and, incidentally, picking up a huge news scoop along the way. But then another of April's odd friends winds up dead and the cops thinks she's acting mighty suspicious. They arrest her before Carson can solve the case and he manages to get himself fired. To save the day, he has to make his way through all the suspicious characters hanging about the apartment building--including a well-known con man, a few Germans looking for a white jade Buddha (that seems to move about as much as Archie's corpse), a painter with a bohemian lifestyle, and a chess champion. Of course our hero triumphs--finding the murderer, landing a major news story with April cast as the heroine, and getting the girl in the end.

This is a fast-paced mystery with lots of action and a good rapport between Don and April. I liked that she could get the better of him and he didn't resent it. In fact, he admired her for it and decided it would keep their life together interesting. He also has a friend, Butch, that he can call on when he's in a jam. Butch is a "reformed" member of the criminal element who isn't above putting his former talents to use in a good cause. His muscle helps Don get people to talk who might have been just a tad reluctant. 

A great deal of fun is had by all (well...except the victims and the villain who is going to get well-acquainted with the justice system). Very entertaining. ★★
Golden Vintage card: "Simon Says"
Deaths 2 (with method given): one hit on head; one shot [one previously killed--but method not given]

1 comment:

J.G. said...

Well, you had me at "April Holiday." What a fun review of what sounds like a clever and enjoyable book!