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The Long Escape
Plunder of the Sun
The Red Tassel
To Catch a Thief


The Long Escape

THE LONG ESCAPE, by David Dodge (Random House). An American investigator combats the obstructionist tactics of some wealthy Chileans who don't want him to carry out his assignment of tracing a man who disappeared from Los Angeles five years before and presumably ended up in Santiago. Before the case is closed, the American has been forced to do some excavating in a local graveyard to solve an old murder, as well as to placate a handsome young lady whose family is mixed up in the affair. A neat puzzle, considerably enhanced by an authentic-sounding South American background.
   New Yorker, vol. 24, no. 26 (Aug. 21, 1948), p. 80

THE LONG ESCAPE. By David Dodge. 241 pp. New York: Random House. $2.50.
   Al Colby is a detective who gets around fast. His ground covering reads like the summer vacation section of a newspaper. He gives a great deal of interesting travel comment about Central and South America. But primarily, Colby needs to prove one Robert R. Parker dead, or to bring him back alive to California to sign some property papers for the wife he left five years before. Colby sleuths along the old trail from country to country and winds up in Chile. There he meets a charming family, who, he feels sure, hold the secret of Parker's life or death. Their courtly grace and stubborn silence almost stump him. The blond daughter's charm and the proud son's trigger-happy temperament make fact-finding difficult. Romance, shooting and even a bit of grave-robbing, all contribute their bit to a carefully built up character study of the missing Parker--who is eventually turned up.
   The New York Times Book Review, vol. 53, no. 32 (Aug. 8, 1948), p. 15
   (reviewed by Beatrice Sherman)

Title and Author: THE LONG ESCAPE David Dodge (Random House: $2.50)
Crime, Place, and Sleuth: Private investigator Colbee [sic] traces long missing Pasadenan from Mexico City to Chile, energetically dodging death en route.
Summing Up: Plenty of punch and color--latter due to gal called Idaho--frequent fisticuffs and fire-fights and logical although anticlimactic finish.
Verdict: Better grade.
   The Saturday Review of Literature, vol. 31, no. 33 (Aug. 14, 1948), p. 24

DODGE, David. The Long Escape. Random. 8/9. $2.50.
   American investigator, seeking to establish death of missing wealthy South American, runs into murder mystery and a long chase before solution. Author's penchant for Latin American peregrinations obtrudes into his novel in which there is as much travel as plot. Over-larded with Spanish terms in attempt to create "atmosphere." Told in slangy, somewhat vulgar jargon. Not much to recommend it. ROBERT W. HENDERSON, Chief, Main Reading Room, N.Y.P.L.
   Library Journal, vol. 73, no. 13 (July 1948), p. 1026

THE LONG ESCAPE. By David Dodge....241 pp. ...New York: Random House....$2.50.
   Mr. Dodge, an experienced baffler, is now working his way through Latin America with considerable effect. Al Cobbee [sic], his new investigator, searching for Robert A. [i.e., R.] Parker, who vanished from Pasadena, races from Mexico City to Guatemala and points south, settling down in Santiago, Chile, for a stiff bout of mystery involving the proud old family of Señorita Maria Teresa Ruano Taracena. Does Don Rodolfo, her father, know the facts? There's some question of an exhumation and a conclusion that satisfies. With its peppering of local color, scraps of Spanish and transportation details, this sounds a bit like a travel tome entitled "So You're Going to Antofagasta;" that is, until the plot begins to boil in that old cemetery. Lively writing in spots.
   New York Herald Tribune Weekly Book Review, vol. 24, no. 52 (Aug. 15, 1948), p. 10
   (reviewed by Will Cuppy)

THE LONG ESCAPE. By David Dodge. (Random House. $2.50). "I am a native of San Francisco. I still like San Francisco better than any place except possibly Guatemala City ... "
   These words appear on the dust jacket of Traitor Dodge's new book. For shame, Davy, for shame.
   Nevertheless, the new book is a honey. Al Colby, Mexico City's favorite private-eye, follows the mysterious trail on one Robert R. Parker from Pasadena to Santiago, Chile. It's all very colorful and very exciting.
   We thought Al chose the wrong gal at the end, however. And we've got an idea that Al thought the same thing. It's chemistry, we suppose. How's about that Dodge? MUST you shatter ALL our boyish illusions?
   This World (San Francisco Chronicle), vol. 12, no. 14 (Aug. 8, 1948), p. 13
   (reviewed by Edward Dermot Doyle)

A CHECK LIST OF SOME OF THE BETTER TITLES OF THE PAST QUARTER FOR CHRISTMAS GIVING
THE LONG ESCAPE. By David Dodge. (Random House. $2.50).
   Al Colby, Mexico City's favorite private-eye, follows the mysterious trail on one Robert R. Parker from Pasadena to Santiago, Chile. Dazzling scenery and some equally dazzling doings en route.
   Christmas Book Issue (San Francisco Chronicle), (Nov. 28, 1948), p. 9
   (reviewed by Edward Dermot Doyle) 


Plunder of the Sun

PLUNDER OF THE SUN. By David Dodge. (Random House. $2.50).
   You met Al Colby in Davy's "The Long Escape" last year and if you liked him as well as we did you'll be interested in the new adventure. The setting once again is Chile and the "Plunder" is, as you must have expected, treasure belonging to the ancient Inca.
   For color and action and plenty of Dodge-Colby rip-snorting, try "Plunder." Just why it's billed as a detective story we wouldn't know, but it's good.
   This World (San Francisco Chronicle), vol. 13, no. 6 (June 12, 1949), p. 13
   (reviewed by Edward Dermot Doyle)

Notes on the Margin
   The other day this column noted that the publisher (Random House) of David Dodge's new yarn, "Plunder of the Sun," had got a little confused about the whole thing. Mr. Dodge, in addition to his books such as "How Green Was My Father," and so on, has written several murder mysteries, "It Ain't Hay," and the like. Misled by this, I suppose, the publisher describes his new one as a "murder mystery" in clear type on the dust jacket. And the note here the other day was simply to point out that "Plunder of the Sun" is no such thing.
   To go a little further with this, the novel, far from being a murder mystery, is a tale of an ancient document discovered in Peru, and the complications that ensue when various people try to get hold of it, having learned that it is a guide to long-buried Inca treasure running into the millions. Three people altogether are killed, though one of them unintentionally because of a weak heart, and there's no detective work in the murder mystery sense at all. In fact, if you had to type this sort of book, a much better description would be to recall the top-notch works of C.E. Scoggins, whose tales of buried Latin American cities and the like used to run in the Saturday Evening Post. Take Scoggins' material and work it over more or less in the style of Raymond Chandler, so to say, and you've got an idea of what Dodge's "Plunder of the Sun" is like. It's pure escape, moves at a fast clip, and will provide its readers with an hour or two of suspense and excitement. To be sure, a murder mystery does the same thing, but the true detective story fan is a special sort of being and isn't going to like to be fooled.
   Just by the way, speaking of Scoggins, if you like this sort of yarn and want to see it done at its very best and haven't ever read Mr. Scoggins' "The Red Gods Call" (now long out of print), I'd suggest you look for it at your public library. It might be there, and you'll have a whacking good time with it if you can find it.
   San Francisco Chronicle, vol. 168, no. 113 (May 28, 1949), p. 10
   (by Joseph Henry Jackson)

PLUNDER OF THE SUN. By David Dodge....245 pp. ...New York: Random House....$2.50.
   Down in Santiago, Chile, Al Colby connected with a mysterious parcel containing a quipu, or Inca message-cord, done up in three sheets of pergamino, or parchment, inscribed with ancient words in what may be Igorot and Spanish, or possibly Quechua--though the curator of the Instituto Nacional de Arquelogia certainly told Al that the Quechuas had no written language. Why did Señor Alfredo Berrien want Al to smuggle the package into Peru? Who killed a certain person on shipboard? What if the puzzle has something to do with your old friend Atahuallpa (appearing here in a revised spelling, with one "l" absent), and what could that mean but Inca treasure?
   Before he is through with it all, Al has played a fast game of cross and double-cross and has been knocked cold several times by villains. Mr. Dodge, a glutton for local color, loads his tale with same, including suitable reference to the llama, the alpaca and the vicuna. A readable travel-mystery, violent in spots, with a sketchy background deriving from "The Conquest of Peru."
   New York Herald Tribune Weekly Book Review, vol. 25, no. 42 (June 5, 1949), p. 12
   (reviewed by Will Cuppy)

Title and Author: PLUNDER OF THE SUN David Dodge (Random House: $2.50)
Crime, Place, and Sleuth: Operative Al Colby, in Chile, takes on smuggling job that leads through sundry fatalities to partial salvage of lost Inca treasure.
Summing Up: Struggle to get parchment that tells all about Inca hoard provides plentiful action, information, colorful backgrounds, and some romance.
Verdict: Exciting.
   The Saturday Review of Literature, vol. 32, no. 22 (May 28, 1949), p. 34

PLUNDER OF THE SUN. By David Dodge. 245 pp. New York: Random House. $2.50.
   Many mystery novelists have used Latin America as a setting because it's romantic or because it's popular or because it's in the news. David Dodge uses the setting simply because for the last several years he has lived there. When Dodge was a C.P.A. in San Francisco he created a detective, James Whitney, who was a C.P.A. in San Francisco. Now that he's a free-lance in South America, he writes about Al Colby, who's a free-lance in South America. This trick of fitting your characters into what you know, plus an equal clarity and directness in the handling of language, may account for the vivid authenticity of all Dodge's mysteries. This latest is not so much a mystery as a romantic melodrama centering about the fabulous golden treasures of the Incas--a sort of buried-treasure legend for adults, with the added fascination of the exploration of character, Latin and Nordic. When you've recovered your breath at the end, you'll know more than you did about the past and present of Peru and you'll have read some fine, hard-packed, hard-hitting prose.
   The New York Times Book Review, vol. 54, no. 23 (June 5, 1949), p. 25
   (reviewed by Anthony Boucher)

PLUNDER OF THE SUN, by David Dodge (Random House). Al Colby, Mr. Dodge's resourcefully drawn private detective, is fast becoming our leading expert on South American skullduggery. Last time, in "The Long Escape," he operated in Chile. On this occasion, it's Peru, where any number of people are interested in the whereabouts, as well as the ownership, of some archeological treasures. Colby's status, anomalous to start with, isn't improved by the fact that he is a North American, but despite this handicap he works things out all right, not only for himself but for a sorely put-upon young Peruvian lady. Good, solid stuff.
   New Yorker, vol. 24, no. 15 (June 4, 1949), p. 95-96 


The Red Tassel

Mountain Sickness
THE RED TASSEL. By David Dodge. 240 pp. New York: Random House. $2.50.
   Strange things have been happening at Pancha Porter's lead-and-silver mine in the mountains of Bolivia. Her income from it has dropped off 50 per cent and down she comes, a flaming redhead of 23, to find the trouble. At La Paz she engages an amateur sleuth, Al Colby, who sets out with her for the mine.
   At the mine, Braillard, the manager, explains that sabotage has been going on. He thinks a witch doctor is behind it. Llamas have been rustled, small dynamitings have occurred, and timber has been stolen. Colby visits the witch doctor and gets no satisfaction. One night the village crazy woman sets up a howl; later some Indians are shot while stealing llamas. After Braillard is murdered and Colby has a fight in a mine, the La Paz police appear. Colby puts everyone straight. Mr. Dodge, the author of several travel books and Colby books, has got off a pretty fair mystery story with an unusual and interesting background.
   The New York Times Book Review, vol. 55, no. 42 (Oct. 15, 1950), p. 40
   (reviewed by Rex Lardner)

Title and Author: THE RED TASSEL David Dodge (Random House: $2.50)
Crime, Place, and Sleuth: Al Colby investigates witch doctors and sabotage for beautiful redhead at her Bolivian mine, 17,000 feet up. Murder finally gives show away.
Summing Up: Mystery fairly thin, but locale and character interesting and authentic, Colby's logical mental processes fun to follow.
Verdict: Lively and literate.
   The Saturday Review of Literature, vol. 33, no. 40 (Oct. 7, 1950), p. 60

Dodge, David. THE RED TASSEL. Random House. $2.50.
   Al Colby, operating again privately in Bolivia, is hired by Pancha Porter to see why the silver mine she owns is no longer shelling out. Through a series of alarming events and strange characters, a witch doctor, a loca (a madwoman), the mine manager and his unstable son, murder and sabotage, Pancha circulates with an aroused social conscience while Colby is just aroused about Pancha ... The usual bright, brash liveliness.
   Bulletin from Virginia Kirkus' Bookshop Service, vol. 18, no. 15 (Aug. 1, 1950), p. 439

DODGE, David. The Red Tassel. Random. 10/2. $2.50.
   Pancha Porter was a strikingly pretty girl who inherited a Bolivian lead and silver mine from her father. A rapidly shrinking income, caused by unexplained sabotage, led her to engage Al Colby to go south with her and straighten out the situation, which rapidly led to murder. Al's duels with a formidable witch doctor and the impassive wife of the mine manager called forth all his skill and resource. One of the best and most exciting stories by a writer whose Spanish-American backgrounds are always entirely convincing. EARLE F. WALBRIDGE, Ref. Asst., Wash. Sq. Lib., N.Y. Univ.
   Library Journal, vol. 75, no. 14 (Aug. 1950), p. 1290

THE RED TASSEL. By David Dodge. 241 pp. New York: Random House. $2.50.
   Al Colby's field is Latin America, and he knows it well. This particular adventure takes place in Bolivia, where the beautiful redheaded Pancha Porter hires Colby to do some investigating for her. Pancha has come from Chicago to find out why her lead and silver mine isn't producing as much as it used to. Together with Al, she ventures up to the mine to find out what's going on. There they run into all sorts of hazards, ranging from mountain fever to an evil Indian medicine man. Some of Pancha's llamas are stolen during the visit and there's a mystery about the orange tassels which they wear to mark their ownership. Murder follows. An intelligent mystery which is informative as well as good fast reading.
   New York Herald Tribune Book Review, vol. 27, no. 10 (Oct. 22, 1950), p. 27

ENTRY: "THE RED TASSEL," by David Dodge. [Random, $2.50]
PERFORMANCE: When lovely but practical Pancha Porter arrived from Chicago in Bolivia to learn why accidents and thefts were depleting income on mine she inherited from her father, she hired Al Colby as trouble shooter, and Colby, hampered by a killing or two, made astonishing discoveries in probing ancient witch-doctor's feud.
PAYOFF: Sinister doings and creepy suspense in high-altitude Central [sic] American mining community.
   Chicago Sunday Tribune Magazine of Books (Oct. 15, 1950), p. 11
   (reviewed by Drexel Drake)

THE RED TASSEL. By David Dodge. (Random House; $2.50). There were strange doings at Miss Pancha Porter's mine in the Bolivian sierra. Maybe the witch-doctor caused them, but why should his curse wait 25 years to begin operating? What about the madwoman and the disappearing llamas? Real danger begins when the mine manager is stabbed in the back. These stories about Al Colby usually have new and remarkable backgrounds and surprise solutions; this is no exception, and is further enhanced by the lively Dodge style.
   This World (San Francisco Chronicle), vol. 14, no. 26 (Oct. 29, 1950), p. 20
   (reviewed by Lenore Glen Offord) 


To Catch a Thief

David Dodge's TO CATCH A THIEF (Random, $2.50) is a strictly male novel, though certainly not to be labeled "For Men Only." It starts from the attractive premise of a retired thief, of all-but-Lupinesque stature, forced into detection in order to unmask the upstart imposter who is plagiarizing his old methods. This idea is developed with high ingenuity in plotting and suspense and with the clean strong prose that is one of Dodge's standard virtues. Cannes and other parts of the Riviera are the setting for action, which culminates in a magnificent long chase over the rooftops of a chateau. It's rumored that the novel has been bought before publication for a film by Alfred Hitchcock; if it hasn't been, it should be.
   The New York Times Book Review, vol. 57, no. 4 (Jan. 27, 1952), p. 26
   (reviewed by Anthony Boucher)

Title and Author: TO CATCH A THIEF David Dodge (Random House: $2.50)
Crime, Place, and Sleuth: Yank gem-lifter, living on Riviera in retirement, feels gendarmes' hot breath on neck when new expert steals technique.
Summing Up: Nice guide to Côte d'Azur resorts; characters properly miscellaneous; no murders (but one incidental corpse). Verdict: Will do.
   The Saturday Review of Literature, vol. 35, no. 12 (Mar. 22 1952), p. 45
   (reviewed by Sergeant Cuff)

"TO CATCH A THIEF," by David Dodge. [Random House, $2.50]
   Sparkling yarn of a reformed jewel thief's search for an imitator of his technique, in order to free himself of suspicion by French police.
   Once dubbed "the Cat" by police and newspapers for his superlative agility as a jewel thief in southern France, John Robie had been freed from prison sentence by vagaries of World War II, and had settled into law abiding life. A new wave of jewel thefts, reminiscent of the methods of "the Cat," forced Robie to seek refuge with old underworld associates, intending flight from France, but instead a tricky crusade was launched to trap the new marauder.
   Cleverly original, sprightly characterization, swift and deft movement, and surprise climax.
   Chicago Sunday Tribune Magazine of Books (Feb. 17, 1952), p. 18
   (reviewed by Drexel Drake)

Dodge, David. TO CATCH A THIEF. Random House. $2.50.
   ... it takes John Robie, who once operated as Le Chat, retired on the Riviera as an honest man, who then finds himself the target of the Sûreté when a skillful second story man imitates his techniques, revives his reputation and his guilt. Protected by his coterie of ex-maquisards and thieves, distrustful of Francie whose mother is the next victim, Robie sustains a long vigil, catches his thief and evades the local law. Some agile, artful Dodgeing, and a softened approach which is becoming.
   Bulletin from Virginia Kirkus' Bookshop Service, vol. 19, no. 21 (Nov. 1, 1951), p. 650

TO CATCH A THIEF. By David Dodge. 248 pp. New York: Random House. $2.50.
   Readers beginning this volume will kindly park their ethical standards with the attractive check girl on the left. This accomplished they may settle with lively attention to the dismaying adventures of John Robie, once the most agile cat-burglar in France and now (but for a rival, aping his methods) a retired gentleman.
   As Dodge begins his extravaganza Robie is kiting it up the hill from his cozy villa and out of the arms of the pursuing police. Thereafter, he makes a new alliance with his old friends among the Maquis, all of them thieves or con men, to catch his latter-day imitator whose success is threatening the peaceful if criminal security of them all.
   The pretty blend of patriotism and friendship which informs this adventure is perhaps the most astonishing thing about it. But readers will find plenty of other excitements including an ingenious double-ply tension which keeps Robie (disguised as a middle-aged American insurance man on vacation) very uneasy indeed in the sun of the Côte d'Azur. It's all tarradiddle and managed just plausibly enough to rate credit, a condition enhanced by its skillful concoction.
   New York Herald Tribune Book Review, vol. 28, no. 24 (Jan. 27, 1952), p. 19
   (reviewed by James Sandoe)

TO CATCH A THIEF. By David Dodge. (Random House; $2.50). Ex-cat-burglar John Robie--retired, but not entirely reformed--is hunted by Riviera police because someone else is using his nickname and technique. To save his Maquis comrades from imprisonment on suspicion, Robie sets out to trap Le Chat. So far it's the usual stuff, but some neat twists and complications and a good surprise make this a rousing yarn--with not one trace of the Dodge comedy, but plenty of his story-telling skill. B plus.
   This World (San Francisco Chronicle), vol. 15, no. 40 (Feb. 3, 1952), p. 31
   (reviewed by Lenore Glen Offord) 


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