Friday, July 30, 2010

Forgotten Books: Even the Wicked -- Richard Marsten

Richard Marsten is one of Evan Hunter's several pseudonyms, but he writes just as well under all of them. In this books, a radio commentator named Zach Blake returns to Martha's Vineyard one year after the drowning death of his wife there. He now suspects that the drowning wasn't accidental and that she was murdered. Zach's young daughter is with him (not a good move, Zach), and one of the first things they do is discover a body.

Nobody seems to want Zach to stay around, except for a beautiful blonde named Enid Murphy, so he's pretty sure he's right about the murder. Naturally he does some amateur sleuthing, which puts him and his daughter in danger.

This novel, from 1957, is very short, only 116 pages, and that's one of the problems with it. The relationship between Zach and Enid doesn't have time to develop. It just happens, and it's hard to believe. Other characters don't have any time to develop, and nothing is done with Zach's line of work. He might just as well have been a baseball player or a grocery clerk. But I'm not complaining, really. The story zips along, and the writing is sharp, and Marsten gives us a photo of a time and a place that's hard to beat. And it sure won't take you long to read it.


Anonymous said...

Funny, but I have no memory of this one at all even though my database shows that I read it in 1977. I do remember "Marsten"'s MURDER IN THE NAVY (DEATH OF A NURSE).

Oh well.


George said...

I read this many moons ago. As you say, Evan Hunter could write good books under any of his many names. And he didn't need 300 or 400 pages to do it.

Bill Crider said...

I don't have a database. I wish I did. But I probably reviewed this one in the apa back in the '70s.

Anonymous said...

Without a database you have to rely on your crack memory, right?

This is why we needed that apa index.

no comment


Todd Mason said...

Well, as I've mantioned in various fora, I usually find something important about any Hunter fiction hard to believe...glad to see that in at least some cases it isn't just mue.

Evan Lewis said...

The mystery here is why this book is in the Crider library. The cover is skin-free!

Bill Crider said...

Nice blonde with dark eyebrows, though.