Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Manville Moon #6: Five O'Clock Shroud - Richard Deming

“Five O’Clock Shroud” is the sixth novella about Richard Deming’s one-legged private detective Manville Moon. It appeared originally in the November 1950 issue of BLACK MASK DETECTIVE and was featured on the usual fine cover by Norman Saunders.

This one has a bit more complicated plot than the previous story in the series. Moon is hired by a wealthy supporter of a politician who is running for mayor as a reform candidate. Unfortunately, it appears that the so-called reformer is actually the big boss of the ring controlling the city’s gambling. Moon even turns up proof of that. And then the murders start, and Moon finds himself targeted for death, as well as being the target of some advances from a beautiful married woman.

Deming does a good job with the political intrigue even though it’s not that difficult to figure out what’s really going on. I’ve become quite fond of Manville Moon as a character. There’s a superb scene in which he’s taken for a ride by three killers, and even though the reader knows he’s going to survive, Deming’s writing generates some genuine suspense. Moon’s escape is pretty clever, too.

If you’re a fan of hardboiled private eye tales, this is a very entertaining series. “Five O’Clock Shroud” is available on Amazon as an inexpensive e-book. I had a fine time reading it and it gets a solid recommendation from me.

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