Hanging By A Thread-Edited by Joan Kahn

joan kahn(editor) -hanging by a thread

A mixture of fact and fiction with thirty-six stories and articles mostly from 1932,35,42,47,49,50,57,61,63,65,66,67. This is Kahn’s usual good collection.

Fiction favorites:

“The Mysterious Occurrence In Lambeth” – G.P.R.James – An old woman is found murdered in her house which is all locked up. Her niece is the only one who gets along with her. Inside her luggage police discover her aunt’s emerald necklace. She’s arrested for murder. A lawyer isn’t so sure and investigates.

“The Blue Hotel” (1899) – Stephen Crane – A cowboy, an Easterner and a Swede all stay at the Palace Hotel in Fort Romper, Nebraska. The Swede thinks someone is going to kill him. Hotel owner Pat Scully brings out the booze and they laugh it up. Then Pat’s son John is accused by the Swede of cheating at cards. They go out in the snow to battle it out. The Swede gets the best of him and then makes his way to a bar. He doesn’t endear himself to the locals.

“The Hashish Man” – Lord Dunsany – An Oriental city disappears. A man wants to find out why and is told the only way is to eat some hash. He does and takes the trip. A good mixture of Horror and Fantasy.

“A Marriage Tragedy” (1858 novelette) – Wilkie Collins – William the Butler tells the story of the tragic happenings at Darrock Hall. William is upset at what happens to the mistress of the house. She married a thief who also turned out to be a bigamist. One day the husband says he’s getting on his yacht and leaving. William and Mr.Dark, the clerk at his lawyer’s office join forces to find him. That later leads to the mistress of the house being charged with murder.

“Funny The Way Things Work Out” (1963) – John D.MacDonald – In the back country an elderly man is married to a local shrew twenty years younger. He confesses to his friend the sheriff that he has thoughts of killing her. Then he reveals his past.

“Operation Enticement” – Henry Cecil – Four friends can’t find jobs…not that they really want to anyway. They cook up a plan to get some money. They’ll pretend the wife of one goes to the other couple’s house saying her husband is abusive. That man takes the other to court saying he enticed his wife to do it. They figure they can sell the story to the papers and make some bucks. Funny story.

“The Murder At The Towers” – E.V.Knox – Great send up of Agatha Christie about a man everyone hates. He’s murdered and a detective is called in to solve the case.

Other authors: Dashiell Hammett, Charlotte Armstrong, Albert Camus, Horace McCoy,Robert Borger, Dylan Thomas, Roald Dahl, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Algis Budrys, Maxim Gorky, M.R.James, H.G.Wells, Alan Paton, Ching-pen t’ung-hsu hsiao-shuo, Donn Byrne, Jorge Luis Borges, Marjorie Bowen, Anonymous and Helen Eustis.

Fact: a number of good articles including:

“The Murder Of Arnold Rothstein” (1932) – Russel Crouse – A brief account of the gangster/gambler whose murder remains unsolved. One of his infamous crimes was the fixing of the 1919 World Series.

“The Sandyford Mystery” – William Roughead – A maid has been found murdered, most likely with a meat cleaver. Her corpse had been washed. She worked for a couple whose elderly father was staying at the house while they were away. The suspect is a good friend of the maid. This is a case of justice gone wrong.

“Other Than A Good One” (1947) – Joseph Henry Jackson – Emma LeDoux is a good example of the Scottish expression, “Other than a good one.” From childhood on she was just no good. In 1906 she was charged with getting rid of her latest husband by drugging him and stuffing him in a trunk while he was still alive. It’s amazing how luck played a role in her experiences with the justice system.

“Escape From The Bastille” – Jean Henry Latude – An account of how two men managed to escape the infamous prison in the 1750’s.

“To The South Sea Islands” (1950) – Thor Heyerdahl – Exciting account of the end of the voyage of the raft Kon-Tiki.

There are other articles about people that got away with murder or at least became close but they’re not all that interesting.


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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