The Thursday Turkey Murders
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Place: New York
313 pages. Small octavo (7 3/4" x 5") issued in black with gilt lettering to spine. 1st edition.
Craig Rice (pseudonym of Georgiana Ann Randolph Walker Craig; 1908–1957) was an American author of mystery novels and short stories, sometimes described as "the Dorothy Parker of detective fiction." She was the first mystery writer to appear on the cover of Time Magazine, on January 24, 1946.Craig Rice "apparently spent her early life working in (Chicago) on radio and in public relations. For a number of years she tried unsuccessfully to write novels, poetry and music, but it was not until her first story of John J. Malone, which she published under her pen name of Craig Rice, that she enjoyed some hard-won success."Gritty but humorous, Rice's stories uniquely combine the hardboiled detective tradition with no-holds-barred, screwball comedy. Most of her output features a memorable trio of protagonists: Jake Justus, a handsome but none too bright press agent with his heart in the right place; Helene Brand, a rich heiress and hard-drinking party animal par excellence (to become Mrs. Justus in the later novels); and John Joseph Malone, a hard-drinking, small-time lawyer (though both his cryptic conversation and sartorial habits are more reminiscent of such official or private gumshoes as lieutenant Columbo). Against the odds and often apparently more by luck than skill, these three manage to solve crimes whose details are often burlesque and surreal, sometimes to the point of grand guignol, and all involving the perpetually exasperated Captain Daniel Von Flanagan of the Homicide Squad. A few stories feature the team of Bingo Riggs and Handsome Kusak, small-time grifters who become involved in criminal situations and have to dig themselves free by solving the mystery.Craig Rice also ghostwrote for a number of celebrities, including Gypsy Rose Lee and George Sanders. Her association with Sanders came about as a result of her work on the screenplays of two of The Falcon movies, The Falcon's Brother (1942, Sanders's final outing as The Falcon) and The Falcon in Danger (1943, when Sanders's brother had taken over the role). She collaborated with fellow mystery writer Stuart Palmer on screenplays and short stories and with Ed McBain on a novel for which she furnished the principal characters.She had three children, two daughters and a son. "Craig Rice kept her private life very much to herself and little is known about the rest of her life -- including how many times she was married. Records indicate she was certainly wed four times, and may even have had two other husbands." One of her husbands was beat poet Lawrence Lipton. A reader of her 1944 novel Home Sweet Homicide might be excused for believing that it was based on her experiences with her own children; the children solve a mystery while their mother, oblivious to their antics and everything else around her, tries to finish writing a mystery novel. The novel is told from the children's point of view.Emulating the wild lifestyle of her characters, Rice developed chronic alcoholism and made several suicide attempts. She also suffered from deteriorating health, including deafness in one ear and blindness in one eye with incipient glaucoma in the other. She died of apparently natural causes shortly before her fiftieth birthday.
Corners bumped, spine ends lightly rubbed, slightly cocked. Jacket spine sunned, corners chipped, spine heal chipped, 1/2" loss to head hinges, edge wear else a very good copy in about a very good jacket.
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