Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday's Forgotten Book: THE APRIL ROBIN MURDERS by Craig Rice and Ed McBain

After Craig Rice died, Ed McBain finished her novel about actress April Robin and the murders that take place at her haunted house.  To me, the cover on the first edition (and bookclub edition) always seemed right.  A busy screwball novel with Hollywood jokes scattered about, a period piece and a murder mystery completely in the style of Craig Rice's other murder/comedies.

I like the cover art on the above edition too, but some of the covers on the other editions took the screwball out and sold it as a harder work, as sex and murder.

The book pushes the morals of the 1950s, something a bit foreign to readers today, yet Craig's writing is infused with an understated whimsy that is timeless.  It's there if you can see it.  McBain certainly could.

April can be the cruelest month, yet it is the month of rebirth.  Historians conjecture that Jesus Christ was born in the spring, the church authorities deciding much later to move his birthdate to coincide with the solstice holiday already in place and thus reverse birth and rebirth.  It is out of this controversy that April Fool's day was born, although it can also be seen as the month of the Great White Rabbit of Native American lore, the celtic pooka and the modern Easter bunny.  Which reminds me, we might go see the matinee of the movie Hop, which opens today, April Fool's Day.

My list of April-related works is at this link.

You should read Jeffrey Marks' biography of Craig Rice, Who Was That Lady? Craig Rice: The Queen of Screwball Mystery.


  1. I read some Craig, and some McBain, but I completely missed this one. Interesting, and what a variety of covers!

  2. I love that first cover. It's wonderful! I'd never heard of Craig Rice. Time for me to do some research. Great post.