Joseph Krumgold Isaac Anderson - Essay

Isaac Anderson

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

If you are fed up with those supermen, the brilliant amateur detectives who are always compelling the reluctant admiration of their rivals on the regular police force, then you should by all means meet Michael Vestry [in "Thanks to Murder"]. Mike is an earnest young man who is convinced, as who is not, that there is something wrong with the world. He believes that the remedy lies in the strict application of scientific principles. What is more, he intends to do something about it. He selects for his first point of attack the crime problem….

As a detective Vestry is a complete flop, but that may be because the cases he chooses to investigate do not come up to the standards of the best detective fiction. Consequently, all his elaborate deduction goes to waste, except in so far as it provides him and others with some extremely exciting moments, to say nothing of bringing about his meeting with a girl who is not a bit like the other girls he has met. The story of Vestry's investigation into the death of the man called Phillips is a most hilarious chronicle of cockeyed sleuthing by an amateur whose chief qualification for the job is a pull with The District Attorney. One begins the story with the impression that Vestry is a mere fool, but one soon learns to like him in spite of his blundering. Unfortunately, the author has so thoroughly put an end to his pretensions as a detective that we are not likely to meet him again in that role. However, Mr. Krumgold may have other tricks up his sleeve, and in the meantime he is to be congratulated upon having produced one of the funniest detective novels in years. (p. 14)

Isaac Anderson, in The New York Times Book Review (© 1935 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission). May 26, 1935.