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