Then two murders occur within hours of one another -- one victim is Ford, the other is an artists' model and Heath's mistress. Could the two deaths be related to the stock scheme? Or is it purely coincidence the two were killed on the same night? And how does the strange disfigured man known as "the scarecrow" figure into the story? Is he really the son of old man Kendall? Or an impostor eager to get his hands on the Kendall's money?
Dickerson has a knack for reconstructing the crime based on physical and circumstantial evidence. There are two impressive bits of business -- one lengthy scene in which Dickerson and his police colleagues reenact the possible ways Ford Sheppard was shot. By opening and closing a car door in variation the policemen discover the killer must be left handed. The other sequence finds Dickerson, by using only the dimensions of some holes found in the ground near the scene of Tessie's stabbing murder, fabricating a model of the murder weapon. It serves as the major clue in locating the actual missing murder weapon which is cleverly hidden in Tessie's apartment.
Eventually the two plot lines mentioned above converge culminating in a harrowing chase, a shootout on a train trestle bridge and a revelation of the least likely suspect as murderer. This was a refreshing surprise of a detective novel that mixes both the hard edged characters usually found in noir crime fiction with the intriguing and imaginative crime solving of the "Transcendent Detective" of the Golden Age. Goldthwaite veered away from traditional detective fiction favoring hardboiled crime stories in his later career. Scarecrow, only his third mystery novel, is well worth tracking down for what appears to be the transition novel in Eaton Goldthwaite's detour from pure detective novel to noir thriller.
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Reading Challenge update: Golden Age card, space E3 - "Book published same year as birth year of loved one." My sister was born in 1945.