Thursday, October 1, 2009

FORGOTTEN BOOKS: THE PRINCESS STAKES MURDER BY KIN PLATT!

FORGOTTEN BOOKS: THE PRINCESS STAKES MURDER BY KIN PLATT!

Max Roper, Kin Platt’s eponymous ‘70s private eye, was near and dear to my heart because most of his cases revolved around different sports. Max made his way through sports from body building, to basketball, to tennis, to baseball, but more important to me, he also took his investigations to the race track in The Princess Stakes Murder. Since a large part of my collection revolved around horseracing mysteries (I once had over 600 horseracing mystery titles), this Max Roper outing fit right in.

Willie Rich asked Max Roper to come out to the Princess Stakes at Del Mar where he would be riding Calamity in the $100,000 race. Willie had a problem he wanted to discuss with the detective after the eighth race. When Willie didn’t show up, and Max couldn’t find him around the track, Roper went out to Willie’s estate. The jockey was there. In his pool. Dead.

The Princess Stakes Murder is further complicated when the beautiful daughter of one of the top stable owners turns up missing at the same time. Throw in a widow who isn’t too heartbroken, some Las Vegas mobsters, a cosmic charlatan and four more murders and you’re off to the races.

Kin Platt started writing in the ‘30s for radio shows, pulps, and comic books. He was a newspaper cartoonist, wrote both children and Young Adult books (including several Alfred Hitchcock’s Three Investigators titles), and cranked out several ‘adult’ novels and a couple of paperback original series. Max Roper, however, was his most memorable character, despite his disappearance from bookshelves and memory.

THE MAX ROPER MYSTERIES:

The Pushbutton Butterfly 1970
The Kissing Gourami 1970
The Princess Stakes Murder 1973
The Giant Kill 1974
Match Point for Murder 1975
The Body Beautiful Murder 1976
The Screwball King Murder 1978

2 comments:

Bill Crider said...

Glad to see this one get a mention. I read most of that series and enjoyed it.

pattinase (abbott) said...

You manage to come up with such unusual choices. I doubt I've heard of most of your picks. Thanks!