|May 4 2023
Above is Robert McGinnis cover art for Hampton Stone's 1957 novel The Girl Who Kept Knocking Them Dead, which is basically a crime procedural, told from first person perspective by an assistant D.A., but focused on the narrator's capable partner Jeremiah Gibson. The saga begins with the strangulation murder of a New York City woman who had been leading a double life. That murder leads to others, as the mysterious killer tries to cover his or her tracks. The title of the book is a potential misdirection play. You expect the killer to be one of the female characters, but there are men who might be guilty as well. Overall, the tale isn't compelling, but that isn't an issue with writing skill, so much as voice. It's too limited. Stone's narrator isn't interesting. His genius investigator Gibson is, but with everything filtered through the admiring partner's recollections the tale never takes flight as it might have. We probably won't try Stone again, but he wrote a lot of books, so you never know.