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29 May 2017

Rambling About.. The Norths Meet Murder by Frances & Richard Lockridge

Frances & Richard Lockridge

Publication: Original 1940; MysteriousPress.com/Open Road reprint March 8, 2016
First Line: Mr. North came home rather early that Tuesday afternoon, and as soon as he came in Mrs. North realized he was in a mood.
Faves on 4s: (in the ebook, story ends at 84% with a preview of the next book following)
14% - "Men with no clothes, croquet-mallets, cats and screwy people," he said, indignantly. "And the guy ain't even got a record," he added, piling on what was evidently the last straw.
34% - His hands clutched momentarily, desperately at nothing and he had time to think "This isn't me - this is somebody else - this isn't happening - " before he he did not think; before he died with his own scream in his ears.
64% - "Wow," said Mullins, when they were out. "You've sure got a way with dames, Loot." Weigand told him to shut up.
74% - It was a puzzle with pieces missing, and one is not annoyed at the maker of a puzzle. The pieces were around somewhere.

What fun this was! I remember listening to the radio show occasionally when I was growing up thanks to my local NPR station playing a lot of old time radio ... and I vaguely remember seeing the Gracie Allen as Mrs North movie at some point when I was young. Somehow it didn't dawn on me that they were based on a book series until I was poking around the hoopla app from my library one day.
Jerry and Pam North live in New York City where he works in publishing and she plans parties, shops, has lunch ... you know, the difficult work. She gets it into her head that she wants to have a party and that the vacant 4th floor studio of their apartment house would be the perfect spot for it. When she and her husband go up to start planning what would go where and what would need to be cleaned first, they find a dead man naked in the bathtub.
When they call the police, Lieutenant Weigand is assigned to the case and it mostly ends up being his story. The Norths are quite prominent, of course, but he seems more of the lead than either of them. Mrs North, especially, tries to help when she can but it's not like a modern cozy or even a Miss Marple where the police are bumbling about while the amateur woman takes control.
Suspects abound and so do red herrings ... and a cat named Pete (who, according to the disclaimer at the beginning of the book, is the only character not made up by the authors).  It's a fun and timeless story -- the lack of technological advances like cell phones and computers being the only real hint that it wasn't set within the past twenty years.
One down and twenty-five to go! (And the tv series which, as luck would have it, is at least mostly on YouTube!)


  1. This is another one I'll have to read. I love the art-deco font on the cover. Sounds like a great book. Thanks!

    1. It really was a fabulous book. I guess in the second one they go camping ... which I'm assuming will be a 1930s/40s version of glamping. I don't see Mrs North "roughing it" :)