So Soon To Die-James Hadley Chase (1975)

James Hadley Chase

James Hadley Chase

Not up to his usual standards. Nothing original about the storyline and it is missing the usual Chase touch that distinguished him from other top authors. If you’re new to Chase or have only read a few so far don’t be in a hurry for this one.

Lionel Amblin is a murderer. He’s been hired to kill twenty-four year old Isobel Waring. When he proves the job is done he’ll get money and a passport so he can leave England. He doesn’t know who hired him or why the girl has to be eliminated.

Isobel lives in a rooming house with a friendly but intrusive landlady and her husband. Isobel’s fiancee is in Chicago for his firm. She just got a letter that he’ll be returning for a few months and will be back in twelve days. One night Amblin sneaks into her room while she’s asleep. He starts strangling her but then stops after she loses consciousness.

He wants to know why someone wants her dead and thinks there may be money in it for him. He reads the letters from her fiancee Ron. He leaves before finishing her off. He makes noise going down the stairs and runs out onto a stolen bicycle.

He breaks into a house and sits in the kitchen after making a sandwich. The homeowner sees him. He kills her by hitting her over the head with a chair. When he leaves he’s spotted by a neighbor.

Isobel works for a firm of solicitors. One of their clients, the elderly Colonel McKinley has been pursuing her. Since he’s a client she manages to put him off so as not to offend.

Amblin shows up at her rooming house saying he’s a friend of Ron’s and invites her to spend a weekend with some friends in Birmingham. After what she went through she decides to get away. After all he’s a friend of Ron’s. Inspector Jeff Galloway has been investigating her case and the murder of the woman. He’s attracted to Isobel but doesn’t do anything about it.

He goes to see her for more questions and spots her about to leave for the train station. He drives her there. In Birmingham Amblin says his friends have a sick child and they can’t stay with them and he drives her to an out of the way Inn run by a friend of his who is an ex con. Isobel doesn’t realize the danger she’s in.  In London Galloway continues his investigation and gets a lucky break.

Who is behind it all is an easy guess early on and the suspense doesn’t have that Chase punch. It’s not bad but I expected more from a writer of Chase’s caliber. He has dozens of books that are well worth reading before this one.


About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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