Fourteen previously unpublished radio plays from the 1940s concocted by actor/scriptwriter Green (1905-54) and Boucher (1911-68), novelist and dean of American mystery reviewers.
When Basil Rathbone left The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes radio program, which Boucher plotted and Green scripted, they developed a modern-day Holmes as a possible replacement. San Francisco importer-exporter/man-about-town Gregory Hood, as editor Christopher’s informative introduction points out, actually owes more to Ellery Queen. Together with his friend and attorney Sanderson Taylor, amateur sleuth Hood investigates a series of oddball cases—a murder halfway across Golden Gate Bridge, the miraculous resurrection of a poisoning victim, murders at the ballet and the circus—that he solves, à la Queen, by close observation and logical inference. Boucher was a prolific but not a particularly inspired plotter of routine radio whodunits, and Green’s dialogue, often dated or tiresomely expository, will keep these quaint period pieces from appealing to a wide contemporary audience. Yet the best of them pose problems so inventive that they’re well worth readers’ time. “The Elusive Violin” asks why a known thief would manage the career of a third-rate violinist. “The Double Diamond” deals with the disappearance of a gem that’s stolen not once but twice from an airline cabin. “South of the Border” finds Hood, pursuing a jade collection in Mexico City, claimed at gunpoint as the ruler of a mythical eastern European country.
Rewarding curiosities for period and radio fans.