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CRIMSON BOOKSHELF

MANHATTAN MURDER, by Arthur Train. Scribner's, New York. 1936. 268 pp. $2.50.

By S. C. S.

ARTHUR TRAIN has delighted the Saturday Evening Post's 3,000-000 readers for many months with his inimitable Mr. Tutt; thousands more have enjoyed his novels. But all of these admirers, we are afraid, will be disappointed in "Manhattan Murder," the story of a man and a girl, plus one of the largest assortments of cops and robbers ever captured between the covers of a detective story. This complexity is further increased by the disconnected essay on crime methods which has been interspersed at an average of every five pages. The author is better than a middling fair lawyer in his own right and may be counted on to know what he is talking about--but the author should not talk so much in a detective story, supposedly filled with the fastest action from beginning to end.

In his anxiety to disclose the organization of modern gangs, Train has sadly neglected his plot and in several places has carelessly forewarned the reader of what will happen twenty pages ahead. His interest in the background is so great that the principal characters become almost incidental--a hardly fitting situation for light fiction however suitable it may be for something with the scope of "Les Miserables." The story is perfectly adequate for a two part novelette, but has been spread out too far to make a full sized book.

All in all we were much disappointed but mostly because Train has spoiled both a fine essay on criminal methods and an entertaining story for the Post. The combination, a priori is impossible because of the limitations in length imposed by the murder story form. The author has written with a detail fitting for a scenario but as neither essay nor fiction, the book is disappointingly valueless.

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