One of These Seven – Carolynne & Malcolm Logan (1946)

One of These Seven may feature a murder that takes place in a locked room, but it’s hardly a locked room mystery.  Said locked room features a lock to which seven people hold the key, and so when a man is found shot to death within, the obvious question is which of the seven committed the crime.  And honestly, that’s about what you’re going to get from this story.  Amateur detective Justus Drum pledges that he’ll track down the killer and subsequently interviews the seven suspects.  Then one of them winds up dead, so he re-interviews the remaining six.  Then the killer is revealed.  Sadly that’s about it.

I wouldn’t say that the book is poorly written in any obvious way, other than it absolutely fails to leave an impression.  The only memorable part is the victim; a larger than life artist who graces a dozen or so pages before winding up riddled with bullets.  Aside from that, you get a competently written investigation, but it never turns into anything other than “who murdered Paul Quinton?”  In the end, whether it was any specific one of the seven doesn’t really matter.  A finger is pointed, a killer confesses, and we move on with our lives.

It’s unfortunate, because the 1947 Handi Book Mystery edition that I managed to hunt down (under the false pretense that this was an impossible crime) is a fine specimen and features a stylish cover.  I guess there’s a semi-clever bit in how the killer managed to evade immediate detection by the police, but that part would only make me swoon if buried within a much deeper story.  I’ve never heard of authors Carolynne and Malcolm Logan before, and although page for page they write about as good as any other NYC-set Golden Age mystery, I won’t be seeking them out because this never really stirred the imagination.  Too bad.

6 thoughts on “One of These Seven – Carolynne & Malcolm Logan (1946)”

      1. Huh, that’s an interesting comparison based on the one Abbot I’ve read. And one that further precludes any nascent compulsion I might have felt to track this down…!

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  1. For what it’s worth, the book was published earlier in hardcover by Mystery House in 1946. It was the Logans’ only mystery, so it was one and done for Mr. Drum. I may have the Handi-Book edition. If I can find it, maybe I’ll do a read and review myself.

    PS. Handi-Books often cut or condensed the books they reprinted in paperback. You can tell by reading the fine print on the other side of the title page. Did they cut this one?

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    1. Yes, the Handi Book edition of One of These Seven is abridged, there’s a comment on the cover. I don’t know that a more fleshed out story would have helped much, as this is really just a “which of these people are guilty?” mysteries.

      I have another Handi Book – Spider House by Van Wyck Mason – and while the story isn’t that great, the physical book is really nice.

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