The Fatal Foursome

Fatal Foursome: Frank Kane: Books

In this caper, Liddell goes out to Hollywood to work a job for a studio executive (Julian Goodnan). A teen idol (Harvey Randolph) has gone missing and every day he’s off the set is costing the studio dollars.

It is a little more humorous than most Liddell stories. In a somewhat humorous vein at one point, he takes note of Mona Varna and muses that the “trouble with these voluptuous wenches is that they always turn to fat…. But until they do…” When Liddell goes to visit his friend the coroner, he tells the nurse at reception that he’s a corpse and he’s come to give himself up. When he goes to the studio to visit with his client, there’s a “buxom blonde in a dark green sweater” stabbing listlessly at the keys of a typewriter “taking excessive care not to fracture the finish on her carefully shellacked fingernails.” In later Liddell stories, that same description is used for Liddell’s own secretary.

This story is filled with drinking at bars, in actress’ apartments, drinking at the coroner’s office etc.
But things aren’t so funny when the movie star ends up in the morgue and the Hollywood big shot trying to find him ends up there too.

Liddell, with young reporter Toni Belden along at his heels, wants to make sense of it. But the bodies keep dropping until there is a fatal foursome involved.

It’s a good old fashioned mystery and it’s a quick read too. It may not have the depth of a Jim Thompson or David Goodis book, but it’s a fun piece of reading and well worth your time. My biggest criticism of it is that it could have had a better title. The alternate title About Face conveys better what the story was about

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