THE NOVELS OF MARTIN M. GOLDSMITH, by Bill
I agree wholeheartedly with the review
Steve Lewis recently did of Goldsmith’s Detour. It’s every bit as
fine as the much-lauded film version (which follows the novel’s
progression fairly closely), and unputdownable once begun.
It so happens I have a copy of Double Jeopardy, which I’ve read
and which is excellent if not quite as good as Detour. I thought everyone
might like to see a scan of the jacket of the earlier book; it’s
included here, as is one of the first edition of Detour. Both books were
published by Macaulay.
Here’s the dust jacket blurb for Double
Jeopardy, in its entirety:
Is it possible in this day of enlightened
justice for a man to be punished twice for the same crime?
Double Jeopardy answers this question, at the same
time uncovering the greatest of the many loopholes in our modern
jurisprudence. In this very human but striking novel are
portrayed the calamities that can be visited upon any ordinary citizen
by the cold disppassionate judgment of our courts and our unimaginative
and often stupid juries. Through the eyes of the victim, Peter
Thatcher, this tense revelation unfolds, growing to ugly and utterly
“Peter Thatcher has murdered his wife,” people
said. “I heard them quarreling,” announced one. “And I,”
added another, “saw the blood.”
To make matters worse, Thatcher himself himself
could not be quite sure of his innocence!
Not a problem novel, not a mystery novel, but rather
a cross between the two, this thrilling story will be appreciated by
those who read “The Postman Always Rings Twice.”
Amen to that last line.
Goldsmith’s third and final novel, Shadows at Noon (Ziff-Davis, 1943),
is a dark wartime fantasy that examines what might have happened to a
disparate group of ordinary citizens if Nazi bombers had actually
penetrated U.S. air space and dumped their payloads on a large American
city. Interesting, but not nearly as good as his two crime novels.
Goldsmith spent some twenty years in Hollywood,
beginning in the mid 40s, where one of his first film scripts was for
the film version of Detour.
He later scripted several other B films and wrote
for episodic TV. Another of his films was THE NARROW MARGIN, the
well-regarded 1952 version; he also wrote an episode of The Twilight Zone. His other
claim to fame is that he was married to Anthony Quinn’s sister.
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