The Last of Philip Banter – John Franklin Bardin (1947)

I’ve been approaching John Franklin Bardin’s work in order, but it’s really the title of “The Last of Philip Banter” that piqued my interest in the author.  It’s an intriguing name, especially for a Golden Age era mystery novel, and I found myself needing to know what it referred to.

My first read by Banter was the quirky novel The Deadly Percheron: a New York set mystery following a man suffering from amnesia trying to piece his life back together after being thrown into an insane asylum.  Not quite my cup of tea on the surface (especially with the amnesia angle), but it turned out to be interesting, if not the type of mystery I was looking for.  Well, The Last of Philip Banter is just as quirky of a read, and much to my chagrin we get more amnesia.

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John Franklin Bardin – The Deadly Percheron (1946)

John Franklin Bardin came to my attention when I spotted his second novel, The Last of Philip Banter, as a 2005 entry in the Honkaku Mystery Best 10.  The annual mystery guide features some amazing novels that will be familiar to anyone who has delved into the cream of the crop of the Golden Age.  What I like most about the list is that it isn’t made up solely of the obvious entries (The Hollow Man, And Then There Were None, etc, etc), but enough deep cuts that it’s obvious the editors know what they’re doing.

Anyway, The Last of Philip Banter is a curious enough title that it piqued my interest, and in seeking out the book I discovered that I could grab Penguin editions of Bardin’s entire library (he only published three books) for a steal.  With so few stories, I figured I’d take them in order, and so here I am with Bardin’s first – The Deadly Percheron.

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