Retro kitsch and sundry delights pepper this sequel to 1995's
hardcover reprint of Murder Me!, first published in 1936 in
Detective Fiction Weekly. Brand, favored pseudonym of Frederick
Schiller Faust (1892-1944), king of the pulps, prolific
screenwriter (80 movies are based on his works or scripts), author
of four books of serious poetry, founder of the Dr. Kildare series,
the Destry novels, etc., etc., wrote 30 million words, the equal of
530 ordinary books, before dying as a war correspondent in Germany.
Currently the pop prodigy has nine (count 'em) publishers issuing,
among them, a new book by Brand every four months in just about all
of the genres that anyone could think of (crime, fantasy,
historical romance, espionage, westerns, science fiction,
adventure, animal stories, big business, big medicine. . .). Even
so, Brand remains more interesting for the figure he cut than for
the works he hacked, although nearly everything he penned has great
pace, and even his potboilers - which at times truly grip - are
often based on classic themes and figures (Oedipus, Achilles,
Faust, etc.). In this particular 61-year-old serial, though, the
classic theme is not all that visible. Retuming here are
salt-and-pepper detectives Angus Campbell - a Scottish American
idealist given to dour rejoinders - and blimpishly bouncy,
chortlingly ebullient, fact-counting, cigar-chewing Patrick
O'Rourke. Manhattan millionaire John Cobb has been receiving
threatening letters, and so leaves for Chicago, hoping that by
hopping the night-hain he'll escape from his anonymous ill-wisher.
Assigned as guards, Campbell and O'Rourke go along. When, after
signing his $15 million will over to his cousin, Cobb disappears
from his Pullman, Campbell and O'Rourke must check the train for
their missing charge. He's not on the train, though, and not in
Buffalo, so they scour Chicago - and, as it happens, mean old Cobb
has enemies galore from some slick deals he's pulled. More bouncy
and bounding than Amtrak. (Kirkus Reviews)
Police detective Angus Campbell, a dour and methodical Scottish
American policeman, cordially disliked his partner, the ebullient
and overweight Irish cop Patrick O'Rourke. And the feeling was
cordially reciprocated by O'Rourke. Both were annoyed--but not
really concerned--about orders to guard the frantic millionaire
John Cobb on a late-night journey on the New York-Chicago train.
After locking Cobb in his compartment, they would look forward to
the pleasure of antagonizing each other in the club car. That is,
until Cobb turned up missing. Whoever was responsible--and there
were several possibilities among the passengers, including an
incomparably strong and handsome man, a breathtakingly beautiful
woman, and an improbably villainous stranger--had perhaps
discounted each detective individually, and perhaps justly so. But
what the malefactor could not know was the insight of their
superior, Inspector Corrigan: "Separate they're not much, but, when
they're together, they hate each other so much that they grind one
another sharp as razors."
"Seven Faces" originally appeared as six installments in
"Detective Fiction Weekly" during October and November 1936. This
edition--the first to collect the installments in book form, uncut
and as the author intended--introduces today's readers to a most
memorable detective duo.
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