the Main Page.
As indicated in two notes above, there are still some open questions
regarding Helen Reilly’s
short fiction. Any additional information would be appreciated.
HELEN REILLY, by Mike Grost
Reilly and Freeman Wills Crofts
Helen Reilly was a prolific author of
mystery novels, whose career stretched from 1930 to 1962. All
except her very earliest books feature New York City police Inspector
Christopher McKee and were among the first American novels to stress
To what school do Helen Reilly's novels
belong? This is not an easy question. In Murder for Pleasure (1941) Howard
Haycraft emphasized that she was not an HIBK [Had I But Known]
writer. This was true at the time; but later, she often included
young society women in her tales, who were in jeopardy – a sign of HIBK
influence on her later work. However such HIBK-like Reilly novels
as The Opening Door (1944)
and The Silver Leopard (1946)
seem to me to be among Reilly's poorest works.
There is an discussion of Reilly in Jon L.
Breen’s excellent article
on the history of the police procedural, in The Fine Art of Murder
(1993). Breen argues that Reilly comes out of the Van Dine
school, and he suggests that she is similar to Van Dine school writer
Anthony Abbot, who also wrote about a New York City policeman, Thatcher
I do not feel that Reilly’s
police procedurals fall into easy categories. Beginning with The Cask in 1920, the novels of
mystery writer Freeman Wills Crofts described the realistic, routine
sleuthing of British policeman. They were immensely influential,
both in Britain and abroad. Yet while Reilly’s works emphasize
police procedure, she does not seem to be a Crofts-influenced
writer. Her books seem very different from the police stories of
Freeman Wills Crofts, in that they focus in turn on the operations of
many different members of the police team, for example. Scenes
alternate between those seen from the point of view of the police with
those in which the POV is owned by civilians involved in the
crime. This is very different from the tales told by Crofts, in
which the viewpoint focuses steadily on Inspector French. Nor is
Reilly especially interested in such Croftsian features as ingeniously
faked alibis, detailed backgrounds, the “breakdown of identity,” clever
criminal money-making schemes involving smuggling or forgery, or mosaic
like investigations of past crimes.
Where Reilly does resemble Crofts is in
the purity of her approach. Her McKee
of Centre Street (1933) sticks to pure police procedure
throughout its length, with the same single-mindedness that Crofts
displayed in such books as The Box
Office Murders (1929). Also Crofts-like: the way we share
all of McKee’s thoughts and discoveries throughout the book, instead of
waiting till the end of the novel to get the detective’s ideas.
Reilly also shares Crofts’ internationalism: McKee of Centre Street has frequent
flashbacks to Columbia in South America, in the same way that Crofts
liked to explore continental Europe. The boat and ocean finale of
McKee of Centre Street is also
reminiscent of Crofts.
Reilly does use scientific
detection. She analyzes physical clues, and uses scientific
techniques to identify material found at crime scenes, using the
results to reconstruct the crime. The effect is closer to R.
Austin Freeman than it is to Crofts, although Crofts did his own tour
de force of this type at the opening of The Sea Mystery (1928). We
also know that Reilly used the great real life German criminologist
Hans Gross as a source, and so perhaps the scientific detection in her
books derives far more from such real life examples than it does from
detective writers such as Freeman and Crofts. Reilly’s interest
in science and technology is consistent with that of others in the
American school of detective fiction writing, such as Frederick Irving
Anderson and William MacHarg. Mystery writers such as these were
either were directly involved in the Scientific Detective Story of the
era, or were allied, in the sense that their work often reflected the
approaches of the Scientific school.
One of the best uses of scientific
detection in Reilly occurs in the opening of Mr. Smith's Hat. As in McKee of Centre Street, the science
here is botany: McKee follows up clues involving plant fragments.
Similar botany-oriented detection occurred in Anthony Abbot’s About the Murder of the Clergyman’s Mistress (1931). Reilly does
indeed share with Abbot an interest in New York City police procedure,
and scientific detective techniques. However, the tone and
technique of Reilly seem very different from those of Abbot and the
other Van Dine school writers. McKee is not a social aristocrat,
unlike the Van Dine sleuths, and aside from his criminological
expertise on botanical evidence, he has little of the Van Dine sleuth’s
intellectual knowledge. Reilly also sticks closely to pure police
procedure in a fashion that seems utterly different from the Van Dine
writers’ more eclectic sleuthing techniques.
Reilly and Frederick Irving Anderson
As mentioned above, Reilly seems closely
related to American writers of police detective tales such as Frederick
Irving Anderson and William MacHarg. Both of these authors wrote
short stories that appeared in slick magazines, such as Collier’s and The Saturday Evening Post.
Anderson’s tales flourished in the prosperous 1920s, and were full of
extravagant fantasies of elaborate police investigations.
MacHarg’s tales were mainly published during the 1930s and early 1940s
Depression era and featured a plain realism in their settings among New
Yorkers of all classes. Reilly’s novels seem closer to
Anderson’s, but without the whimsy. Both Anderson and Reilly show
a large team of police that perform a remarkable variety of tasks,
including shadowing suspects, doing background checks, impersonation
and undercover work, crime scene investigation and lab work. Both
Reilly and Anderson highly relish the diverse personalities, skill sets
and social backgrounds of their varied cops. Both authors’ police
manage to spread a very wide net around the villainy under
investigation, and both have enormous initiative and get up and
go. Inspector McKee has the role of chief in Reilly’s world, just
as Deputy Parr in Anderson’s.
Lonely city apartments in run-down
neighborhoods tend to be sites of violence in Reilly’s world.
Reilly’s stories are like MacHarg’s and Cornell Woolrich’s in that they
sometimes are set among poor people. These writers all use police
detectives. Their poor people are not mobsters, unlike the
hard-boiled writers of the pulps. Instead they are ordinary
people who live in tenements and slums, have menial jobs, and cope with
McKee of Centre Street
Centre Street (1933) is Reilly’s breakthrough novel, emphasizing
police procedure. The Centre Street of the title is the famed
headquarters of the New York City Police. The tale opens with a
description of the radio room there and is written in Reilly’s most
visionary style. There are descriptions of light on walls,
colors, sounds, the whole entirety building to abstract geometrical
patterns of light and sound. Such 3D abstractions remind one of
the visionary novels of William Hope Hodgson.
Radio itself was a fairly new technology
in 1934, and the chapter is also an expression of a universe created by
high technology. The room contains maps showing the location of
every police car in New York City; in many ways, it is a symbolic or
virtual re-creation of the City itself. It seems like an early
expression of Virtual Reality. It is also the brain center of
police operations, and the chapter can be read as metaphors for the
operation of the nervous system.
Reilly emphasizes the efficiency of the
police. This was a virtue highly prized in the 1930s, where it
was associated with Modernism, science, and the Future. It also
recalls Taylorism, the science of running factories efficiently
according to mathematical and statistical methods. Reilly
includes a document analyzing crime statistics for 1932 and 1931.
Such a statistical approach also invokes Taylorist ideas. The
police here are seen as a modern, factory like operation, using
machines, mathematics and efficient organization to run their
enterprise. It has been discussed whether Reilly’s books are
ancestors of the modern police procedural novel. They certainly
try to describe police procedure accurately and in detail. So in
this sense, they certainly qualify. However, while many modern
police procedurals stress the ordinary, human nature of the police,
Reilly tries to convey the extraordinary nature of the police.
Later chapters of the book depict a
speakeasy where a murder has occurred. The speakeasy is also
depicted in technological and organizational terms; the descriptions of
its lighting effects, and the role they play in the murder, are almost
as much a “sound and light show” as the opening police chapter.
The electrician in charge of the lighting becomes a key player in the
story. I cannot recall any other of the countless underworld
nightclub tales of the 1930s that include an electrician as a
character. This is a unique point of view created by Reilly.
There is an odd contrast in imagery
between the male and female characters. The women have often lost
consciousness: the murdered woman looks as if she has simply passed out
on the dance floor; suspect Judith Pierce is found fainted in the phone
booth; and the janitor’s wife is asleep. By contrast, Reilly
keeps emphasizing how alert the (male) police officers are.
However, one of the male characters in the book will eventually lose
consciousness, in a spectacularly written passage (Chapter 15).
Throughout the book, Reilly’s extraordinarily vivid writing style will
add an almost surrealistic clarity to her descriptions of typical daily
life and location in New York City. Everything has a more real
than real vividness that recalls the bright light in such painters as
Dali and Magritte.
Centre Street sticks to its police procedure paradigm
throughout its entire length. The book is extremely pure in its
approach. Nearly everything in the book consists of the police
examining a crime scene, finding some physical clue, and then using it
to reconstruct the actions of the suspects and the victim. The
police also use the eye-witness testimony of innocent bystanders, and
the facilities of a huge police operation. They also do much
trailing of the suspects, and even go so far to spy on them on
occasion. The suspects all stonewall and lie to the police at
every opportunity, so the suspects’ testimony plays only a small role
in this book, as compared to, say, a typical Van Dine school
novel. Although the suspects’ movements and actions are endlessly
traced, they are on stage for only a small fraction of the time they
would be in a conventional Golden Age novel, and they do not really
come alive as characters. Throughout the novel there is vivid
descriptive writing, especially of the buildings in which the suspects
move, and of New York City lighting and atmosphere, as if to create a
portrait of the city.
This purity of approach has both strengths
and weaknesses. It can be monotonous, and lack variety. But
it does allow Reilly to explore her innovative techniques at length.
There are two large manhunts in the second
half of this novel; the first across New York City, the second in the
Connecticut countryside. I tend to prefer the city one. It
is written with all of Reilly’s visionary style of description.
The countryside one is a bit of a shaggy dog story. It takes
place in all the back ways and little used roads of a country area
catering to tourists. It focuses on the locals who support the
tourist industry, and their homes, camps and little known back
paths. In this it is similar to the even longer and more
elaborate country chase that occurs in Mr. Smith’s Hat.
One does not want to oversell Reilly’s
work. McKee of Centre Street lacks a clever plot solution.
The end of the book takes only around five pages, and shows no
ingenuity whatsoever. Sure enough, one of the characters did
it. Reilly might as well have thrown a dart to pick this
character, for it could have been any of the suspects. It is an
anticlimactic end to a novel, all of whose merit has been its
detection, not its puzzle plot. Reilly’s emphasis on typical
scenes of daily life also deprive her books of the fabulous
eccentricity that graces so many Golden Age novels.
Reilly and the Pulp Style of Plotting
(1960) is a short, vividly written mystery novel, almost a
novella. Some aspects of it remind one of the pulp story.
It seems to show a version of the “pulp style of plotting,” with many
disparate characters in the book engaged in criminal schemes.
When any one thing bad happens, it is hard to tell which group of
characters has done it. This style of plotting, occuring most
often in hard-boiled fiction, was widely used by Black Mask authors of the 1920s and
At the end of Reilly’s book, there turn
out to be no less than three groups of villains, and two of the groups
have multiple bad guys in them, instead of solitary criminals.
Reilly uses such all surrounding villainy to generate a sense of
paranoia. This paranoia is also found in the pulps. It is
interesting how gender plays a role in how this paranoia is
perceived. When a tough detective is up against criminals at
every turn, readers sometimes interpret this as a piece of serious
social criticism. When Reilly’s sleuth, a pleasant, chic young
New York housewife, encounters universal villainy, one can treat it as
a “woman in danger” story. Actually the feel of paranoia is
similar and intense in both Reilly and the hard-boiled novel.. The
paranoia is an entire world view, and similar in both kinds of
writers. Reilly’s heroine does not carry a gun, or beat people
up, but she is remarkably similar in spirit to the tough guy detectives
of the pulps.
Other aspects of the story recall the
hard-boiled pulps of the Black Mask
school. The heroine gets roughed up when she explores a dangerous
criminal lair toward the beginning of the book. This is very
close to what happens to Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe or other
tough PI’s when they explore some dangerous locale. Her serious
injuries seem far removed from the genteel threats sometimes inflicted
on HIBK heroines.
There are also private detective
characters who play a major role in the book. Another scene that
recalls the hard-boiled school: the canyon in Chapter 8, and what the
heroine finds there. This discovery is not the fixed aftermath of
a crime scene – no, the heroine-sleuth is plunged into a complex series
of events involving a crime in progress. When the dust clears,
she is left with a series of ambiguous clues about the events.
The whole thing is pure hard-boiled, and could have come right out of
1930’s Black Mask. Raymond Chandler
loved to include scenes set in mysterious lonely canyons, and so did
Forrest Rosaire in “The Devil Suit” (1932).
Looking further into this idea, it can be
discovered that Reilly did have some contact with pulp magazines.
Her second McKee novel, Murder in
the Mews (1931), was serialized in Street and Smith’s Detective Story Magazine,
and she published a handful of short stories in other pulps
However, the novel serialization could easily have been arranged by an
agent or a publisher, and Reilly’s degree of contact with the world of
pulp writing may not have been great.
And yet the murder victim in Mr. Smith’s Hat (1936) was grinding
out Western stories for a fictitious magazine called Cowboy, which seems to be a
pulp. One recalls that Craig Rice's protagonist in Murder Through the Looking Glass
(1943) wrote for the science fiction pulps; that Lenore Glen Offord's
series sleuth Todd McKinnon
earned his living writing pulp detective stories; and that Dorothy L.
Sayers’ Unnatural Death
(1928) has a reference to Black Mask.
All of these references to pulp fiction magazines by Golden Age writers
seem to be by women authors. Perhaps this is just a meaningless
coincidence. Or perhaps, male writers were more conscious of the
low career status assigned to pulps, and avoided referring to them in
their tales – career success is a traditional part of masculine self
Reilly has a personal interest in
architecture, that wonderful staple of Golden Age novels. Late in
Follow Me, the heroine is held
captive in a pink adobe house. Eventually, the roof of the
building plays a role in the story. Similarly, in her early novel
Murder in the Mews (1931), the
roof of a building figures prominently. The characters in both
books start out at the bottom, and eventually make their way to the top
of the house.
This earlier novel is extremely
stilted. Reilly would become a vastly more lively writer as the
years progressed. She had the gift of unrolling an ever more
complicated plot, with each section providing some new, startling
revelation about her characters. Her books, although they
generate suspense, are true detective stories. The heroine of Follow Me, while she gets in
jeopardy, is a real sleuth, and constantly attempts to both solve the
mystery and to uncover more and more of the hidden truth.
On re-reading, one can dip anywhere into Follow Me, and come up with a
section that recalls itself vividly to memory.
Reilly likes ambiguity. Many of the
relationships in Follow Me
can be interpreted in more than one way. So can most of the
twists of the crime story. This adds to the paranoia of the
plot. These different interpretations go off in numerous
directions, so that suspicion is cast over everyone in the novel.
A key scene in Chapter 11 has the heroine looking at two walls.
One looks bluish, the other green, but it is an effect of light on
identically colored walls. T his is a metaphor for the entire
book. The everyday background of events in Follow Me should not disguise the
quality of imagination in it. It is very difficult to come up
with such relentless sustained ambiguity, one encompassing so many
scenes and patterns.
Color is often used when the heroine is
about to have some revelation. Take as an example what she sees
in the shop window in Chapter 7. These revelations have a
visionary quality, as if they were illuminations of concealed truth,
almost a mystic revelation. They often suggest hidden connections
that were obscure before. This is a paranoiac world view – that
everything is concealing some truth that could speak. It is also
the sign of a real detective. Reilly’s heroine is a genuine
detective, always motivated above all by the desire to learn the truth,
and always uncovering more and more of it.
The opening scientific detection in Mr. Smith’s Hat turns into a full
fledged “revelation” of the kind found in her later work. The
revelation involves color and form. It is one of the best pieces
of imagery in her work.
4 (1948-1949) shows Reilly adopting and using techniques of
1940s suspense. Chapters 6 and 7 show the heroine being menaced
in the GASLIGHT tradition,
with someone trying to make her believe she has lost her mind; while
Chapters 11 and 12 depict her heroine sleuthing for a mystery witness
through endless streets of New York City, in the tradition of Cornell
Woolrich’s Phantom Lady
(1942). The heroine got the clue for this search earlier, when
she recalled a new image about a past encounter (towards the end of
Chapter 5). This newly illuminated memory is in Reilly’s
visionary tradition. Staircase
4 also has some excellent descriptions of the lights of New York
City, especially in twilight, after dark and in the rain. These
show Reilly’s power to evoke effects of light and color.
Reilly is often interested in formerly
well-to-do New Yorkers who are downwardly mobile. Sometimes these
people are very open about their sea change. One thinks of the
victim in Mr. Smith's Hat
(1936), who has abandoned his snooty relatives to life a life of
drinking and bohemianism, or the penniless young society woman in The Opening Door (1944) who leaves
home and starts a book store and glove shop to support herself, over
her snobbish family’s fierce objection – they think she should have
tried to marry for money instead. This young woman is clearly
admirable, while the drunk is probably reprehensible. However,
one has a distinct suspicion that Reilly is highly sympathetic to
both. The treatment of the young woman has a feminist strand –
her going to work is seen as admirable by the author, despite society’s
objection. Similarly, the young widow in Follow Me plans to get a job,
despite her friend’s protests. All of these open characters tend
to be non-suspects. They are either victims, like the drunk, or
viewpoint characters, like the heroine of The Opening Door and the young
widow in Follow Me.
They are marked as “innocent” in the mystery puzzle plot, and morally
sympathetic in the author’s world view.
A second kind of downwardly mobile
character in Reilly is far less open about it. These are suspects
who keep up a big front, and who live the lives of upper class New
Yorkers, but who are actually quite strapped for money. These
characters tend to be suspects in Reilly’s books. At first
glance, they seem to be quite polished. They tend to be men, well
dressed, sophisticated, and with upper middle class jobs.
However, they are spending way above any income they have, and the
reader discovers that these initially upper crust looking people will
do anything for money. These characters include the father and
the brother in The Opening Door,
for example, and most of the heroine's circle of “friends” in Follow
Me. Reilly’s treatment of these people as suspects in the puzzle
plot is also mirrored in her negative moral and social view of
them. They are always introduced in the plot as “typical” upper
middle class people, and only later do we learn their flaws. This
tends to suggest that most upper middle class people are essentially
fakes, polished on the surface with their upper class clothes and
status symbols, but far less solid underneath.
All the downwardly mobile characters fit
in with Reilly’s themes of ambiguity and hidden truth. They look
one way socially, but in fact their real lives and status could be
quite different. They have a double role. They are as
ambiguous as are both the relationships and the mystery plot
developments in Reilly’s work.
Reilly’s Last Novels
She Died (1962) is Reilly’s last novel, and it returns to the
New Mexico locations of Follow Me
(1960). Reilly lived in New Mexico in her later years, and these
two books are clearly based on personal observation. The Day She Died avoids HIBK
mannerisms. It is a tale of pure detection, and the point of view
taken is almost entirely that of two detectives. But conversely
the novel is one of Reilly’s works that most closely follows the
traditions of Mary Roberts Rinehart. It takes place in an
isolated country house, one that is full of sinister events, much like
the one in Rinehart’s The Circular
Staircase (1907). Many aspects of the characters’ personal
lives are ones that are familiar to us from Rinehart’s fiction.
Its format also follows that of J. B. Priestley’s The Old Dark House (1927): a group
of strangers taking shelter in a crumbling old country house from a
terrible rain storm. In this case, the old house is an ancient
adobe ranch, a relic of New Mexico’s
earliest days. Reilly describes the storm, the New Mexico
landscape, and the ancient house with tremendous vividness. These
scenes have the visionary quality found in Reilly’s
best writing. Later chapters take us into the cities of modern
New Mexico, a pleasing contrast.
Helen Reilly’s reputation has perhaps suffered from writing
too many HIBK style novels in the middle of her career. But her
best works are original contributions to detective fiction. McKee of Centre Street is one of
the best early police procedure novels, written with an almost
hallucinatory intensity of description. And her later books
set in New Mexico, the dynamically told Follow Me, and her final novel The Day She Died, also show
originality of style. A writer whose best works read like no
others, Reilly is long overdue for new readers.
This article is slightly
revised from one that appears on Mike Grost’s
own website, A
Guide to Classic Mystery and Detection.
Some additional discussion about Helen Reilly’s
novels will be found in the Readers Forum.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: HELEN REILLY (1891-1962) -
compiled by Steve Lewis
Married to artist Paul Reilly, mother of four daughters, including
mystery writers Ursula Curtiss and Mary McMullen. Her brother,
Kieran, also wrote mystery fiction. President of MWA, 1953.
US Editions Only
* = Inspector Christopher McKee
The Diamond Feather*.
Doubleday Crime Club, 1930; hardcover reprint: Grosset & Dunlap,
n.d. Magazine appearance: Triple
Detective, Summer, 1950. Comment:
Only five copies of the Crime Club edition are listed on ABE.
The Thirty-First Bullfinch.
Doubleday Crime Club; 1930. Magazine appearance: Thrilling Mystery Novel Magazine,
March 1946. Comment: Again
only five copies of the Crime Club edition are listed on ABE.
Man with the Painted Head.
Farrar & Rinehart, 1931. Magazine appearance: Detective Novel Magazine, Spring,
1948. Comment: The four copies
of the Farrar edition listed on ABE range in price from $100 to $245.
Murder in the Mews*.
Doubleday Crime Club, 1931; hardcover reprint: Collier, n.d.
Paperback reprints: Detective Novel Classic #23, ca.1943; Popular
Library #259, ca.1950; Macfadden, 1966; Manor, 1974. Advance
magazine appearance: serialized in Street & Smith’s Detective Story Magazine, June 20,
June 27, July 4, July 11, July 18, July 25, 1931.
The Doll’s Trunk Murder.
Farrar & Rinehart, 1932; hardcover reprint: Grosset & Dunlap;
n.d. Paperback reprint: Popular Library #211, 1949.
Magazine appearance: Triple Detective,
Winter, 1948. Comment: The
notorious “bondage” cover on the paperback edition was done by
well-known pulp artist Rudolph Belarski.
Doubleday Crime Club; 1934; hardcover reprint: Sun Dial Press,
1942. Paperback reprints: Macfadden, 1967; Manor, 1977.
McKee of Centre Street*.
Doubleday Crime Club, 1934; hardcover reprint: Sun Dial Press,
1943. Paperback reprint: Popular Library #33; ca.1944.
Dead Man Control*.
Doubleday Crime Club, 1936; hardcover reprint: Sun Dial Press:
1937. Paperback reprints: Macfadden, 1964; Manor, 1974.
Mr. Smith’s Hat*.
Doubleday Crime Club, 1936; hardcover reprint: Sun Dial Press,
n.d. Paperback reprints: Popular Library #48, ca. 1945;
Macfadden, 1968; Manor, 1977.
File on Rufus Ray.
William Morrow & Co., 1937. Oversized cardboard folder.
Crimefile #2: “This file contains the complete dossier of a crime, with
every clue and item of evidence preserved in its original, physical
form, exactly as it might have been received at Police
Headquarters. The crime was a murder. The police solved
it. Can You?” Included are facsimiles of “evidence” such as
letters, confetti, cigar ashes, button, photographs, telegrams,
etc. The solution is included in a sealed envelope.
All Concerned Notified*.
Doubleday Crime Club, 1939; hardcover reprint: Sun Dial Press,
1940. Paperback reprints: Century #29, 1945; Macfadden, 1964;
Manor, 1974. Advance magazine appearance: Cosmopolitan, May, 1939.
Dead for a Ducat*.
Doubleday Crime Club,1939. Paperback reprint: Popular Library
Death Demands an Audience*.
Doubleday Crime Club, 1940; hardcover reprint: Sun Dial Press,
1941. Paperback reprints: Popular Library #7, ca.1943; Macfadden,
1967; Manor, 1974.
Murder in Shinbone Alley*.
Doubleday Crime Club, 1940; hardcover reprint: Sun Dial Press,
1941. Paperback reprints: Popular Library #20, ca.1944;
Macfadden, 1964; Manor, 1974.
The Dead Can Tell*.
Random House, 1940. Paperback reprint: Dell #17, ca.1943, mapback.
Mourned on Sunday*. Random
House, 1941. Paperback reprint: Dell #63, ca.1944, mapback.
Three Women in Black*.
Random House, 1941. Paperback reprints: Dell #114, ca.1946,
mapback; Dell #709, 1953.
Name Your Poison*.
Random House, 1942; hardcover reprint: Detective Book Club, n.d.
[3-in-1 volume]. Paperback reprint: Dell #148, ca.1947, mapback.
The Opening Door*.
Random House, 1944. Paperback reprints: Dell #200, ca.1947,
mapback; Dell #917, ca.1956; Ace Double #G518, ca.1965, bound with Follow Me. Advance
magazine appearance: serialized in The
Saturday Evening Post, Sept 25, Oct 2, Oct 9, Oct 16, Oct 23,
Oct 30, Nov 6, Nov 13, 1943.
Murder on Angler’s Island*.
Random House, 1945; hardcover reprints: Grosset & Dunlap, n.d.;
Collier [Front Page Mystery], n.d.; Detective Book Club, n.d. [3-in-1
volume]. Paperback reprint: Dell #228, ca.1948, mapback.
Magazine appearance: Detective Novel
Magazine, June 1946.
The Silver Leopard*.
Random House, 1946; hardcover reprint: Detective Book Club, n.d.
[3-in-1 volume]. Paperback reprint: Dell #287, ca.1949,
mapback. Magazine appearance: Mystery
Book Magazine, Jan 1947.
Murder*.” Short story, Collier’s,
Jan 25, 1947. Reprinted: The
Saint Mystery Magazine, March 1955.
Random House, 1947; hardcover reprint: Detective Book Club, n.d.
[3-in-1 volume]. Paperback reprint: Dell #397, ca.1950, mapback.
Novelette, Mystery Book Magazine,
Fall 1948. Note: See the entry for “Black Reminder” below.
Escort.” Novelette, Short Stories, October 25,
1948. Reprinted as “The
Perilous Journey,” Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, May
Story, Mystery Book Magazine,
Spring 1949. Note: Both
this story and “Dark Entry” may have been expanded to later
novels, but which, if any, is not known. Whether Inspector McKee
appears in either or both is also unknown.
Staircase 4*. Random
House, 1949; hardcover reprint: Detective Book Club, n.d. [3-in-1
volume]. Paperback reprint: Dell #498, ca.1951, mapback.
Murder at Arroways*.
Random House, 1950; hardcover reprint: Mystery Guild [book club],
n.d. Paperback reprint: Dell #576, ca.1952, mapback.
Appeared serially in several newspapers as “The Black Ring.”
Lament for the Bride*.
Random House, 1951; hardcover reprint: Detective Book Club, n.d.
[3-in-1 volume]. Paperback reprint: Dell #621, ca.1952, mapback.
The Double Man*.
Random House, 1952; hardcover reprint: Detective Book Club, n.d.
[3-in-1 volume]. Paperback reprint: Dell #732, ca.1953.
The Velvet Hand*.
Random House, 1953; hardcover reprint: Mystery Guild, n.d. [book
club]. Advance newspaper appearance: Star Weekly [Toronto], Dec 20,
1952. No paperback edition.
Tell Her It’s Murder*.
Random House, 1954; hardcover reprints: Detective Book Club, n.d.
[3-in-1 volume]; Walter J. Black, n.d. Paperback reprint:
Bestseller Mystery #B-201, n.d. [unabridged].
Random House, 1955; hardcover reprint: Detective Book Club, n.d.
[3-in-1 volume]. Paperback reprints: Ace #G-546, ca.1963;
Macfadden, 1971; Manor, n.d.
The Canvas Dagger*.
Random House, 1956; hardcover reprint: Detective Book Club, n.d.
[3-in-1 volume]. Paperback reprints: Bantam #1858, 1959; Ace
Double #G-531, ca.1965, abridged, bound with Not Me, Inspector; Macfadden, 1970;
Ding Dong Bell*.
Random House, 1958; hardcover reprint: Detective Book Club, n.d.
[3-in-1 volume]. Paperback reprints: Ace Double #G-528, ca.1965,
bound with Certain Sleep;
Macfadden, 1971, Manor, 1974.
Not Me, Inspector*.
Random House, 1959; hardcover reprint: Detective Book Club, n.d.
[3-in-1 volume]. Paperback reprint: Ace Double #G-531, ca.1965,
abridged, bound with The Canvas
Dagger; Macfadden, 1971.
Follow Me*. Random
House, 1960; hardcover reprint: Detective Book Club, n.d.
[3-in1volume]. Paperback reprints: Ace ca. #G518, 1965, bound
with The Opening Door;
Macfadden, 1971. Advance newspaper appearance: Star Weekly [Toronto], May 21, 1960.
Random House, 1961; hardcover reprint: Detective Book Club, n.d.
[3-in-1 volume]. Paperback reprints: Ace Double #G-528, ca.1965,
bound with Ding Dong Bell;
Macfadden, 1971; Manor , 1974. Advance newspaper appearance: Star Weekly [Toronto], June 17,
The Day She Died*.
Random House, 1962; hardcover reprint: Detective Book Club, n.d.
[3-in-1 volume]. Paperback reprints: Ace #G-536, ca.1965;
Macfadden, 1970. Comment: The
Macfadden edition is surprisingly hard to find. Only one copy is listed
on ABE ($14.35).
Books written as by Kieran Abbey.
Run with the Hare.
Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1941. Comment:
Extremely scarce. The two copies listed on ABE are priced at $175
and $300 respectively.
And Let the Coffin Pass.
Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1942. Comment:
Also very scarce, but the three copies listed on ABE range in price
from $49.50 to only $70.
Beyond the Dark.
Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1944; hardcover reprint: Detective Book Club,
n.d. [3-in-1 volume]. Paperback reprint: Dell #93, ca.1945,
Michael L. Cook, Monthly
Michael L. Cook & Stephen Miller, Mystery, Detective and Espionage Fiction:
Allen J. Hubin, Crime
( The Ultimate Mystery /
Detective Web Guide )
Thanks also to Peter Enfantino, Richard Hall
and Phil Stephensen-Payne for the corrections
and additions to the
bibliography which they provided.
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