Sunday, December 31, 2017

#16 - The Gutenberg Murders by Gwen Bristow and Bruce Manning (1931)

About this edition: This edition contains a teaser of the first chapter of the next edition (The Merrivale Mystery by James Corbett).

Gwen Bristow (wikipedia)

About the authors: Here is a Wikipedia article about Gwen Bristow and her husband, Bruce Manning. They also authored three other novels in the Mystery League series (The Invisible Host, Two and Two Make Twenty-Two, and The Mardi Gras Murders). 

Principal characters: 

  • Dr. Prentiss, head of the Sheldon Library
  • Quentin Ulman, assistant librarian; whose racket is "wine, women, and books."
  • Luke Dancy, secretary of the library, cultivates an English accent
  • Marie Catillo, employee of the library
  • Terry Sheldon, nephew of the library's founder
  • Alfredo Gonzales, head trustee of the library
  • Winifred Gonzales, man-chasing wife of Alfredo
  • Wade, reporter for The Morning Creole
  • Dan Farrell, District Attorney
  • Captain Murphy, Homicide

Locale: New Orleans

Synopsis: The prize possession of the Sheldon Library is nine leaves of a Gutenberg Bible, worth a small fortune. The leaves are stolen from the library's safe. DA Dan Farrell and reporter Wade (tapped as a special investigator) discuss possible identities of the thief. 

Dr. Prentiss and Alfredo Gonzales have been at odds over the years. Prentiss obtained the Gutenberg leaves, but Gonzales claims they are forgeries. Quentin Ulman has been known to steal various items from the library but has never been prosecuted - and he is having relationships with two different women. Winifred Gonzales chases every man she encounters. 

Almost immediately after the theft, Quentin Ulman is found dead, his body torched on the little-used road in front of the library's off-site bindery building where books are repaired.

The investigation gathers facts, and after a society party, Winifred is found dead in her burned out car.

Wade looks into the deaths, and finds love triangles as well as complications arising from a convoluted will left by the library's founder.

1 comment: