Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Short Story Wednesday: DOLLS ARE MURDER edited by Harold Q. Masur (an MWA Anthology, Lion Books 1957)

(a redux post)

index put together from various, mostly Contento and Stephensen-Payne sources:

Dolls are Murder, "from the Mystery Writers of America," edited by Harold Q. Masur. Lion Books, 1957, "by arrangement with Revere Publishing Corp." 126 pp. 25c mm pb. Cover by Mort Kuntsler.

7 · Human Interest Stuff · Brett Halliday · ss Adventure Sep ’38; EQMM Sep ’46
20 · The Homesick Buick · John D. MacDonald · ss EQMM Sep ’50
34 · I’ll Be Waiting · Raymond Chandler · ss The Saturday Evening Post Oct 14 ’39
51 · Mind Over Matter · Ellery Queen· ss Blue Book October 1939
73 · The Doctor Makes It Murder [Dr. Paul Standish] · George Harmon Coxe · ss Cosmopolitan Sep ’42 (reprinted in The Saint Detective Magazine as "The Doctor Calls It Murder," Oct '57)
92 · The Dog Died First · Bruno Fischer · nv Mystery Book Magazine Fll ’49
115· Affaire Ziliouk [Monsieur Froget] · Georges Simenon; trans. by Anthony Boucher · ss Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, May 1944; translated from Les 13 Coupables (1932).
122· Cop’s Gift · Rex Stout · ss What’s New Dec ’53 [as “Tough Cop’s Gift”]; EQMM Jan ’56 [as "Santa Claus Beat"]

So here's a slim, inexpensive (even for the time) paperback with at best a misleading title (but, thoughtfully, the MWA was kind enough to leave all the women writers out of this antho), inasmuch as some of these stories, such as "Brett Halliday"'s deft excursion into "B. Traven" territory, have no women to speak of in them (oh, wait...a minor character at the beginning is killed by the father of a young woman the mc insulted...dat's a deadly dame, doncha know). Likewise, the woman character in the JDMc story is notable mostly for being the only female character, and far less deadly than several of the males; she in fact commits no murder. But it's a solid little book, filled with stories that have become at least borderline chestnuts in the succeeding years, such as the Bruno Fischer story I first read in the Hitchcock Presents: volume I FFB'd the other week, a series, I'll note (somewhat redundantly) that Masur would eventually edit after founding editor Robert Arthur died. And the book rounds out with its shortest story, published under three different titles (I'm guessing that the title here, "Cop's Gift," might've been "Rex Stout"'s preferred one), a neat if not exactly challenging little mystery set on Christmas Eve, with the typical Stout wit and eye for small details (and not a Wolfe/Goodwin story). Much as this book itself was part of a seasonal gift from Kate Laity.

For more of this week's Wednesday's Short Stories, please see Patti Abbott's blog.


Jerry House said...

I used to enjoy the MWA anthologies, but haven't read one in quiet a few years. This was a good one.

Cullen Gallagher said...

How are JDM's short stories generally? I've only read his novels.

Todd Mason said...

Indeed, Jerry, despite the half-assed attempt to package it salaciously.

Cullen, MacDonald was an excellent short story writer, as well as novelist. As Bill Crider and James Reasoner might note (I think they have, and I'd agree), his revisions of his pulp-magazine stories for inclusion in such collections as THE GOOD OLD STUFF were unnecessary, to say the least. He was good from jump.

C. Margery Kempe said...

Useful gift, eh? Anything that provides content. Glad you're enjoying.

Todd Mason said...

Not to mention contentment!