Contribution

(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

The first six of the thirteen Duncan Maclain novels have been described as “outstanding,” ranking with the best detective fiction done in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s by an American. Out of his personal experience working with blinded veterans, Baynard H. Kendrick created the character of Captain Duncan Maclain. Kendrick wanted to prove that the disadvantages associated with lack of sight could be overcome, and that the blind need not be treated as dependent children. Consequently, he deliberately placed his blind investigator in the most harrowing of situations. Maclain is not, however, superhuman in the mold of Ernest Bramah’s Max Carrados. Kendrick could invent puzzles and twisting plots as well as the best of his contemporaries, but his unique contribution is his portrait of a believable disabled person in a dangerous occupation. Kendrick was one of the founders of the Mystery Writers of America, served as its first president, and received the organization’s Grand Masters Award in 1967.