Short Notes: The Death Coins by Walter S. Masterman (1940)

When the telephone rings at the police station, Sergeant Grant, picks it up in a bored manner but when he hears the message – of a man claiming that he is about to be murdered and asking the police to hurry up to an address and bring along a locksmith too – his whole attitude changes, naturally. And then the man ceases to speak, there is a sound of a receiver being dropped… and silence.

This is the opening of Walter S. Masterman’s The Death Coins which made me pick this up right from the library shelves. However, my high expectations were soon dashed as the novel meandered and it became difficult to keep track of necklaces, coins, hidden treasures, revolutions in South America, love troubles of innocent heroines, flighty step-mothers, innocent heroines acting like vamps, angry and deceived suitors, gentry fallen on bad days, a valet named John John, the difference between demure English Rose and sultry Spanish Senora ….

Walter S. Masterman is a new author for me. Since at times one just picks up a dud, I’d like to read at least one more of his. Is there any you’d like to suggest?


First Line: The telephone bell rang sharply, and Sergeant Grant, who was on duty, picked up the receiver in a bored manner.

First Published: 1940

Pages: 254

4 thoughts on “Short Notes: The Death Coins by Walter S. Masterman (1940)

  1. Sorry to hear you were disappointed in the way the story played out, Neeru. That is such a compelling beginning to a story! And it is a fascinating premise.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I thought I knew all of Masterman’s books because I have nearly all of them. I immediately went hunting through his bibliography to see if The Zdearh Coins was retitled in the US. But his last six books were never published over here. Surprise! Learned something new. His specialty was Gothic horror and weird detective fiction. I enjoyed The Yellow Mistletoe, The Borderline and Curse of the Reckaviles. But my favorite of all the Masterman mystery novels I’ve read is the Hitchcockian pursuit thriller called The Hunted Man. If you find a copy of that one I think you’d like it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the info on Masterman, John. Gothic horror and weird detective fiction seems very promising. And you wouldn’t believe it, in the library, I was divided over this book and The Hunted Man, finally choosing this book because of its opening! Now waiting to go again.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.