Dean Street Press is a new imprint, which will be republishing some classic murder stories from ‘the golden age’. They’ve very kindly sent me two crime stories by George Sanders (available now as e-books). I began with Crime on My Hands. George Sanders narrates this story as himself, the suave, slightly sinister actor whom you probably know best from his rôle in Rebecca. The premise is that George is bored with playing detectives like The Saint and The Falcon and is delighted to land a plum part in a Western. A real murder occurs while the film is being shot, which results in Sanders investigating the case for real, while at the same time being a prime suspect.
I found this very entertaining, mainly because of the style. At times the narrative reads like the script for a film noir:
But this Wanda was a composite of all the sirens from Lilith to Theda Bara. Beautiful, too, with her satin-blonde hair and her scarlet mouth. She could have raised a pulse in the Rushmore memorial.
I could almost see Barbara Stanwyck and hear Fred MacMurray reading it to me. The Wikipedia entry for George Sanders states categorically that Crime on my Hands was ghost written by Craig Rice, but it’s possible that Sanders had considerable input. Not that it matters much now. The book is a good read and I recommend it to lovers of forties crime fiction.
There will be some more scarce books published later: goody!