As he delves into Sargent Chenoweth’s business at his privately accounting firm he discovers the Dorrie’s husband was duping many of his friends and leading a double life. Shady business deals and stock market manipulation are uncovered as well as plans to flee to South America. Uncle Chuck also traces Chenoweth’s secret life to a love nest where he was entertaining a young woman both he and Dorrie knew since the woman was a teen in high school When that young woman now, barely 20 years old, is also found dead Chuck begins to fear that his niece may not be as innocent as she claims to be. The police are beginning to formulate a similar theory as Uncle Chuck, that Dorrie found out about her husband’s infidelity and decided to get rid of both of Sargent and his much younger mistress.
Dogs play a unique role in the story, too. Pete is the Chenoweth’s
collie mix that got into trouble and came home injured. Uncle Chuck
looks at the dog’s wound and tells Dorrie that its unmistakably a bullet
that grazed Pete’s neck and ear causing a furrowed scar. When a
variety of suspects turn up at the Chenoweth home as part of Uncle
Chuck’s routine Q & A sessions the dog behaves skittishly. There
are three separate people the normally friendly dog acts strangely
around serving as a clue to the person who probably tried to shoot the
dog. But why? Uncle Chuck is certain Pete was around when Sargent was
killed. The dog’s odd behavior sets Chuck’s mind imagining an ingenious
way to reveal the murderer. He finds a look-alike dog at the local pound
and begins an vigorous training program for the quick to learn rescue
animal. Ultimately Uncle Chuck’s plan proves to be one of the cleverest
and original methods of unmasking a murderer to appear in any detective
novel of this era.
Fast paced and a real page turner The Man Who Cried All the Way Home is one of the most engaging books I’ve read from Hitchens’ long career. It’s a definite throwback to her days as D. B. Olsen when she wrote traditional detective novels. The plot is fairly clued and populated with a wide array of colorful suspects all with varied motives. And she delivers the goods here in a rousing action-filled finale that reveals a totally unexpected culprit.
It’s a shame that this particular title is so hard to find in either its paperback or hardcover editions. Currently, I uncovered only twelve copies for sale in English and some if those are the old Detective Book Club 3-in-1 volumes. Other copies are of French and German translations. I stumbled upon a copy of the ultra-rare Curtis paperback (pictured at the top) with the intention of offering it to Stark House for a possible reprint then learned that the remainder of all of Dolores Hitchens’ reprint rights (including all her books written under her various pen names) were recently outright purchased by Mysterious Press/Open Road Media. Sadly, we won’t be able to get this one in a Stark House reprint. And it may only be a digital version of this book that may turn up in the future…if it ever does.