Friday, January 23, 2009

Forgotten Books: MURDER OF A MISTRESS --Henry Kuttner

Yesterday I talked about one of Kuttner's fantasy novels, but he also wrote crime fiction. In the middle 1950's, he was working on a master's degree in (I believe) psychology, and he started a series of novels that featured a psychoanalyst named Michael Gray. Five books appeared before Kuttner died (much too young) of a heart attack in 1958.

In Murder of a Mistress, one of Gray's patients is accused of murder. Gray doesn't believe she's guilty. Then three other people confess to the crime. The cops don't care because they already have the person they've convinced committed the murder. Gray agrees that none of the people who confessed is the killer. He thinks the killer is someone else entirely.

Then one of the people who confessed is murdered. Gray discovers that his client's sister was murdered months earlier, and there's an attempt on Gray's life. Gray uses psychology instead of police procedure to come up with the solution, as he does in all the books of the series.

While the psychology is dated now, the Michael Gray books are still fun to read. Kuttner was such a talented writer that he could do just about anything. As most of you know, I'm sure, his wife was C. L. Moore, and they often collaborated on their work. I'm not sure how much Moore had to do with this series, if anything.

9 comments:

David Cranmer said...

Bill, I'm going to rent those storage units you talk about just for these FFBs. The Kuttner book has been added to the glorious heap. Gracias!

Bill Crider said...

See, I already rent two units.

pattinase (abbott) said...

So that's what you do. I've been donating them to the AAUW. Big mistake.

Jerry House said...

Five books? I only know of four: MURDER OF A WIFE, MURDER OF A MISTRESS, MURDER OF ANN AVERY, AND MURDER OF ELEANOR POPE. What's the title of the fifth one?

Karin M said...

Murder of Anne Elk? Sorry, couldn't help it.

Todd Mason said...

Your a dear, Karin.

Bill Crider said...

You're right, Jerry. I counted MISTRESS twice. English major.

Thomas Miller said...

Someone needs to bring these back into print. I've enjoyed Kuttner's (and Moore's) science fiction and fantasy stories, but I never knew about his mystery fiction. Thanks for the info.

Bill Crider said...

There are a couple of others with his or the Lewis Padgett name on them. Cleve Cartmill ghosted one of them, I think.