Friday, April 15, 2016
So Young A Body
“So Young A Body” by Frank Bunce (Pocket Books, 1950). From the pulps to paperbacks, comes a fun series that originated in DETECTIVE FICTION WEEKLY, featuring Martimer Peabody Humble and Dorrit Bly. Beginning when financial accountant Humble takes a cruise on the SS Vagabond, he’s ashamed of his uninteresting profession, and tells everyone he’s a hardboiled private detective. Also coming on board is the beautiful Dorrit Bly, a young girl who works at a law firm. She also has a photographic memory, and never forgets anything she sees or reads. She also knows how to get her way, and is an extrovert where Mr. Humble is more an introvert. Unfortunately for the latter there’s a murder as soon as the ship is assail, and Captain Wren asks Mr. Humble to solve the case. Dorrit Bly, thinking Humble is really a private detective, tells him she’ll help, as she’s always wanted to be a detective – there’s even a hint that she was in the Army, but not in the job she wanted. If you read between the lines, you know she wanted to be in G-2 intelligence. She soon learns of his duplicity, however, but guides him through the investigation. Humble does solve the case, but as usual Dorrit Bly was far ahead of him, and had everything set up for the final uncovering of the murderer. There are at least two paperback novels featuring the characters, and I will be reviewing the second one, “Rehearsal For Murder” in a few weeks. Although Mr. Humble appears to be the lead in the series, it’s Dorrit Bly who steals the show. Lots of fun, and another of those pulp characters to move into paperbacks when the pulps were dying.