Author Rating: A

Sorry You’ve Been Troubled (read 3/16/09) Recommended

What a delightful find! Peter Cheyney was a British crime fiction writer of hard-boiled short stories and novels, publishing between 1936 and 1951. This particular novel was published in 1942 and features Slim Callaghan, a hard-drinking private detective who works around the law and is quite at home in the less savory sections of London.

The blurb in the back of the 1989 paperback edition says that Cheyney didn’t use a typewriter but dictated his novels and stories to his secretary. That could account for the liveliness that comes across on the page. I felt like I was watching a 1940s black-and-white movie. Very enjoyable.

They Never Say When (read 4/5/09) Recommended

Great stuff. You’d be hard pressed to find more entertainment between the covers of a book. First published in 1944, this one also features Slim Callahan.

Urgent Hangman (read 8/09) Recommended

Another “Slim Callaghan mystery” well worth your while. The blurb on the paperback edition reads: “Slim Callaghan is surprised one rainy night with a visit from the beautiful Cynthis Meraulton. She breathlessly recites a tale concerning her stepfather, his will, and the four degenerate nephews whom he plans to disinherit. ‘Cyn’ (Slim insists on using her nickname) is afraid of her cousins’ murderous motives, and the likelihood that they may try to pin their crimes on her blond head. This is just the kind of complex challenge at which Slim excels. His technique for gtting at the hidden truth is to lie to everyone, making himself seem as venal as the rest. As in Dashiell Hammett‘s Red Harvest, all these lies finally add up to a gleaming strand of truth, which Slim deftly extracts from the baffling case.”