Thursday, February 6, 2014
Murder on the Blackboard, Stuart Palmer
Murder on the Blackboard (1932) by Stuart Palmer features schoolteacher Hildegarde Withers and police inspector Oscar Piper for the third time.
As one of the characters jokes, "Schoolteachers rush in where detectives fear to tread, or something."
Murder on the Blackboard abounds with humor as well as the clues (and red herrings) necessary for a satisfactory mystery novel.
Palmer's sense of humor is well-illustrated by these two quotes:
"Then [Miss Withers, who was reading the letters section of the newspaper,] returned to Irate Citizen, who was openly in favor of legible house numbers and against dry-sweeping."
"Anderson was letting the words tumble forth, like a pent-up torrent. 'I play the stock market, I lose. I play the Mexican lottery, I lose. I play the Chinese lottery, I lose, again and again. I bet on Dempsey in Philadelphia, and on Al Smith in the election. Always I lose.'"
And who says mystery novels aren't educational? I learned that a cane like this is called a "whangee." Who knew?
I found my International Polygonics reissue of Murder on the Blackboard for only 75 cents plus postage. All Palmer's other books, however, are going for much more than that bargain price!
Three-and-three-quarter daggers out of four.
Posted by Tony Renner at 11:31 AM