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George Kelley Paperback & Pulp Fiction Collection

Do Evil In Return

cover image By: Millar, Margaret (female)
Publisher: Dell Publishing Co., Inc. (558)
Place of Publication: New York, NY
Catalog #: Kelley Box 676: PS3563 .I3725 D6 1950
Contributor: T. McElroy


Era: 1950s Author as on Cover: Margaret Millar Geographic Locale: West Coast; northern California Date of Publication: 1950  |  Original Date: 1950 Setting: urban; also rural Oregon Motives: jealousy, blackmail

Plot Summary

Charlotte Keating is a doctor to whom a young married woman comes seeking an abortion. Her very abusive husband is not the baby's father. When the girl is found murdered, Charlotte, who feels responsible, becomes a suspect herself. She sets out to learn the circumstances of the pregnancy and the subsequent murder after an encounter with the girl's husband and her low-life step-uncle. Lieutenant Easter of the local police force follows Charlotte's investigation closely, and the complex plot involves Dr. Keating's potential lover, his psychotic wife (who's also one of the doctor's patients), and the fact that Lt. Easter is falling in love with Charlotte.

Major Characters

Dr. Charlotte Keating adult female, brown hair, attractive, cool and competent, physician

Lewis Ballard adult male, middle-aged, long-legged, big ("loose"), successful lawyer

Gwen Ballard adult female, tiny, delicate, fair-haired, psychotic, socialite

Clarence Voss adult male, middle-aged, small, huge ears, Violet's step-uncle and small-time crook

Eddie O'Gorman adult male, face pitted with acne scars, broken nose, ex-fighter turned bartender

Violet O'Gorman adult female, 20 years old, plain, dark hair, long zigzag scar on forehead

Lieutenant Easter adult male, police officer


guns, drowning

Level of Violence

the victim drowns and two crooks are shot; the doctor is struck on the head and mugged. Some of the violence is explicit, other parts are less descriptive.


implied adultery

Gender Roles

the doctor, a woman, is unmarried, independent and forward-thinking, characteristics that the male characters generally find abrasive. However, this does not play a major part in the plot.

Alcohol/Drug Abuse

alcohol makes Eddie abusive; Uncle Voss is also a drunk.

Law Enforcement

the local police in the form of Lieutenant Easter investigate the crime.

Added Features

abortion is mentioned briefly.

Subject Headings

Police/ California/ Murder/ Abortion/ Jealousy/ Blackmail/ Women Physicians

Psychological Elements

the lawyer experiences guilt for committing adultery, for getting Violet pregnant, and for causing his wife to commit murder. Gwen Ballard exhibits a variety of psychological problems, including depression and paranoia. Both Eddie and Uncle Voss drink excessively.