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The April Robin Murders

Райс Крэйг

The April Robin Murders

Райс Крэйг
The April Robin Murders

Practically everybody will remember Bingo and Handsome, partners in the International Foto, Motion Picture and Television Corporation of America (or, to put it more bluntly, street photographers), whose earlier adventures were related in The Sunday Pigeon Murders and The Thursday Turkey Murders. Readers may have forgotten, however, that from these events our heroes assembled assets of $2,773 and some odd cents. This inspires them to try their fortune in Hollywood. (“After all,” Bingo said, “we’re photographers, aren’t we?”) Along with the bankroll they were blessed with Bingo’s complete faith in himself, Handsome’s photographic memory, and the innocence of city slickers. It seemed perfectly sensible to them, for example, to make a down payment of $2,000 on an empty Charles Addams type mansion because it had once belonged to April Robin, the great star of silent-screen days. Immediately thereafter, they paid a deposit against the rental for a small building on the Strip. These negotiations left them with no cash, but considerable prestige. They soon, inevitably, acquired a landlord who had supposedly been murdered four years earlier, a housekeeper who was murdered the night they moved in, a cop who would like to arrest them both just so that he can be doing something positive, and assorted characters who are willing to pay Bingo and Handsome (a) to find the body, and (b) not to find the body. All this inspires Bingo and Handsome into furious activities which are — well, not exactly efficient, but certainly fascinating. In trying to cope with their commitments they meet some remarkable people, the kind that supposedly are found in Hollywood but actually could have been conceived of only by Craig Rice. In other words, The April Robin Murders is funny, hilariously complicated, knowing, sentimental: that mixture of mirth and murder uniquely the product of one of the best-loved and best-selling mystery writers of our time.