Why does a mystery review site care about Harlequin? 60 years ago the publisher known for its romance and bodice rippers also published mystery novels by the likes of the great James Hadley Chase and other pulp fiction writers like Dale Bogard and Perry Lindsay. To celebrate its 60th anniversary, Harlequin has decided to reissue some of these pulp classics and this at a very reasonable price. Also, if you go to harlequincelebrates.com there are 16 free books from the publisher’s various series to download.
The mystery novel Harlequin reissues are I’ll Bury My Dead by personal childhood fave James Hadley Chase: a very successful man risks everything to avenge the death of his no good brother. Of course, this one features a dame or two. Also by James Hadley Chase is You Never Know With Women where a private eye is asked to return a stolen object by a beautiful dame to its rightful owner. Chase sure know how to write them. His first ever novel, No Orchids For Miss Blandish was twice made into a movie.
Also part of the celebration is Kiss Your Elbow by Alan Hudley. A guy who plays a detective on Broadway ends up in a real murder mystery. Hadley was a stage actor as well as a director and producer so he knows his setting.
Virgin With Butterflies has to be the weirdest sounding pulp fiction reissue here. I haven’t read it yet but the story is about a beautiful dame being chased by very wealthy men because she might know something.
No Nice Girl by Perry Lindsay, also unread for now, features two women who must beware because “Anice was dewy-eyed, supersweet, and diabolically innocent.”
Pardon My Body is by Dale Bogard. Bogard was mostly a TV writer. This mystery is about a journalist who quits the beat to perhaps finish his novel-in-progress and finds himself in the middle of a series of murders. There are bodies galore in this one.
To date, Harlequin is not sure it will repeat this venture. Perhaps a few well-placed emails (go to www.eharlequin.com) by avid mystery novel fans will make it change its mind.