The Gold Deadline by Herbert Resnicow

So, it’s probably time to raise the tone of the blog a tad. After all, what do we normally talk about here? Yup, murder. All the time, banging on and on about murder. What a grim hobby. So let’s take a break from all the doom and gloom and take in a ballet. After all, our host is sitting alone in his box with nobody apart from his assistant, in full view of hundreds of people, with no way to enter the box. Obviously nobody’s getting murdered here…

Needless to say, the ballet impresario Victor Boguslav is soon dead, stabbed to death without a sound. The police naturally arrested his assistant, Jeffrey, but also in attendance were Alexander and Norma Gold, guests of Jeffrey’s father, the billionaire Max Baron. Knowing the Golds’ ability to solve tricky problems, a wager is undertaken on whether Alexander can unmask Victor’s murderer – but it has to be done in 36 hours! Dum, dum, dum!

Herbert Resnicow wrote a number of mystery novels, starting late in life but still reaching an impressive tally of 15 novels before his death. I’ve encountered him before on the blog in The Dead Room, but wasn’t as impressed with the technicality of the solution as some. TomCat, from Beneath The Stains Of Time, is a big fan, so at some point in the distant past, I picked up a couple of the Gold titles, the series that he is best known for.

The Gold Deadline is the second of the series and it’s… interesting. It takes a while to get used to the characters, as there is an unreality about some of the dialogue. It’s narrated by Norma and Resnicow seems to prefer wit over considering how people actually talk. Alexander, in particular, has some clunky dialogue, but after a while you stop noticing. Although the “He was your homosexual lover” exclamation still sticks in the memory.

It’s a fun enough read, but I didn’t find the solution particularly satisfying. I began to worry when we were given precise dimensions of the theatre that we were in for another overly-technical solution and while it wasn’t as bad as I feared, the solution is somewhat bizarre. It’s not quite as daft as The Problem Of The Wire Cage, but the reason for the murderer to be able to get into the box… sheesh.

Anyway, a decent time-passer but not something that’s going to start a Resnicow obsession. Decent enough, but no classic.

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4 comments

  1. I’ve had this one on my radar, along with The Dead Room, The Gold Solution, and The Gold Curse ever since Tomcat provided that overview of Resnicow. I haven’t yet tracked down any of his books, and I’ve been somewhat curious to see if the style would match my tastes.

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  2. The Dead Room is…fine, but does not work as presented (I have reviewed it at my place if anyone is interested). This one…did not work for me; the method is valid, but it just seems waaaaay too much effort for the strangest of reasons (the motive — I’m with you, Doc — is just plain weird). I also agree that Norma Gold’s style of narration isn’t necessarily the way most people would choose to write a book, and I can’t really shake the feeling (after, admittedly, just two books) that Resnicow seems to wite novels where the entire middle section doesn’t really add anything: you’re just as well off reading the first two and the last two chapters for more or less the same effect.

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