Review 1857: Murder Out of Turn

Murder Out of Turn is the second of the Mr. and Mrs. North mysteries, which were extremely popular in the 40s and 50s.

Pam and Jerry North have invited their friend Lieutenant Bill Wiegand to their cabin on a lake in northeastern New York State. When he arrives, he finds quite a social group of vacationers finishing up a tennis tournament and then having a party. Wiegand walks one of the women home from the party at night and gets lost on the way back. When he is near the cabin with the partiers, he comes across the body of Helen Wilson, whose throat has been cut. Early the next morning, there is a fire in the cabin of Jean Corbin, killing her.

Having called in the state troopers and the Bureau of Criminal Identification, Wiegand finds Lieutenant Heimrich asking for his help. One of the difficulties for the police is not knowing which murder was intended. Everyone is surprised that anyone would want to murder Helen, although Jean is another story. So, did Jean witness something about Helen’s murder or did Helen about Jean’s? When he investigates further, Wiegand can only find one person who might want to hurt Helen, Dorian Hunt, whose father was tried for fraud. Helen, Hunt’s secretary, reluctantly testified against him. On the other hand, there are several people who may have wanted to kill Jean, jealous wives and coworkers and men she had dumped.

I’m not sure I enjoyed this novel as much as the first one, although it was okay. For me, there were too many details and not enough characterization. The Norths frankly don’t do much to solve the mystery, just get involved in some chases. Having Wiegand fall for a woman who hates cops was a little interesting.

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Review 1691: The Norths Meet Murder

Mysterious Press has recently started bringing back the Mr. and Mrs. North series, which was extremely popular in the 1940’s and 50’s. Other bloggers’ reviews finally convinced me to try the first in this entertaining series.

Pam North has decided to have a party, and she thinks the empty apartment upstairs in their building would be a perfect place to have it. So, one afternoon Jerry and Pam North go up to look at it. There they find a man’s naked dead body in the bathtub.

Lieutenant Wiegand has some difficulty identifying the body, but it turns out to be that of Stanley Brent, a lawyer. Brent was a man disliked by many, part of a social set that intersects with that of the Norths. Pam North soon finds a clue, a paper with the name “Edwards” inserted into the mailbox to make it look as if the upstairs apartment is occupied. Wiegand is also able to find Clinton Edwards, a businessman and part of the same social set as Brent. Edwards claims to know Brent but to have few dealings with him.

But there are other suspects—Brent’s wife Claire; the Fullers, as Brent has been behaving as if he’s having an affair with Jane Fuller when he is not; maybe Mr. Berex or even Kumi, Edwards’ houseboy.

Mrs. North is an interesting character whose mind seems to always be ahead of her tongue. Mr. North is adept at interpreting what she means. There’s an awful lot of drinking going on in this novel, but it is humorous and engaging. It had fun reading it.

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