Death in the Back Seat: A Review

DEATH IN THE BACK SEAT was written by Dorothy Cameron Disney and published by Random House in 1936. It is currently available from Wildside Press.

Jack and Lola Storm, artist and writer, respectively, move from New York City to Connecticut for the promised peace and quiet of country life to pursue their crafts. Life in small town Connecticut may not have the hustle of the big city, but New York didn’t have a domineering land lady, a quirky handyman, an arrogant romance writer, and a dead man right in their own back seat.

DEATH IN THE BACK SEAT is for you if you love a roller coaster ride of a mystery. It’s like a Midsomer Murder…only in 1930s Connecticut.

Strengths of the story. This is a tag-a-long mystery, meaning we follow along with the investigation, rather than try to solve it. It took a few chapters for the story to truly get started, and then it look off like a shot. I binge read the last 75%. The plot is marvelously crafted and displays a masterful use of foreshadowing that could be used in a lit class. The descriptions of the characters are particularly vivid, allowing me to keep them distinct in my mind. Nearly every time you think Jack, Lola and the local police have things in hand, well, they don’t. There is the thrill of the mystery, heroes in mortal danger, a little habeas corpus, and so much more. It is a fun, if deadly ride.

Where the story lacks compared to the ideal. Stories with twists and turns are always a lot of fun reading start to finish. But often, when at the finish and looking back, there are questions to be asked. My husband says these things bother no one but me…but he can’t be right. The actions of the characters in the midst of the story are solid. But I can’t say the same for the actions that kicked the story off. They are weak. There are a few point where the matters of resolution seem contrived only to leave us in the dark. And a dog is badly treated. No bueno, Dorothy Cameron Disney.

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