The Double Take
Roy Huggins, © 1946, Pocket Books # 2524, paperback
The book shown is the 1959 2nd printing
NOTE: this post originally identified Huggins as a pseudonym of John Thomas James. That was incorrect. (see NY Times obituary: http://is.gd/4QyNe . Thank you to Joyce (see comments) for the correct information.
Roy Huggins, who sometimes used the pseudo-nym of John Thomas James, is best known for having created such popular TV series as Maverick, The Fugitive, 77 Sunset Strip and The Rockford Files, Huggins started out as a novelist, producing a trio of books and several short stories that later became sources for his broadcast dramas.
Roy Huggins lived in southern California most of his life and and his stories and novels have SoCal locations, this one in the Los Angeles environs. He died on April 3, 2002 in Santa Monica, California, at age 87.
This novel features a character familiar to those who watched 77 Sunset Strip: Stuart Bailey. Bailey subsequently made three short-story appearances, and after some modification, became the chief protagonist – played by Efrem Zimbalist Jr. – in the TV series.
In this one, Bailey is hired by an influential politician whose client is being blackmailed in regard to his wife’s past; Bailey must investigate the woman’s history in order to end the extortion. That’s a pretty typical plot, about as popular as the missing daughter story. Typical of hard boiled plots in this era, there are lots of twists and turns, a few head-thumpings and several gorgeous dames. It’s difficult to describe the plot beyond that, but I enjoyed the heck out of this one and recommend it to anyone who can lay hands on a copy. The very nice cover art is by Harry Bennett.
This review is my 9th entry in a series of Friday Forgotten Books.
Series organizer Patti Abbott hosts more FFB reviews at her own blog, along with a complete list of today’s participating blogs. This week the summing up of books chosen will be sometime next week when she returns from Bouchercon in Indianapolis.