cover image Death on the Aisle

Death on the Aisle

Frances and Richard Lockridge. Penzler, $25.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-613161-18-0

First published in 1942, this installment in the Lockridges’ long-running series featuring the married amateur detective team of Jerry and Pam North exemplifies the series’ strengths and weaknesses. The setup is a classic golden age puzzle—a murder committed in a Broadway theater during a rehearsal when all eyes were on the stage. The Norths and their sleuthing, however, are less than memorable, and, as Otto Penzler notes in his introduction, Pam is the archetype of the scatterbrained female lead who was popular in the mid-20th century. Both Norths happen to be on hand when someone uses an ice pick to kill Carney Bolton, a “backer of plays and beguiler of women.” The investigating NYPD officer, Lt. William Wiegand, welcomes their help in figuring out exactly when Bolton was fatally stabbed, and where everyone involved in the production was at that time. Another person connected to the play is killed before Pam stumbles on the solution. Fans of the Thin Man movies are most likely to enjoy this somewhat dated entry in the American Mystery Classics series. [em](Mar.) [/em]