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University at Buffalo Libraries

George Kelley Paperback & Pulp Fiction Collection

The Case of the Murdered Model

cover image By: Dewey, Thomas B. (male)
Publisher: Avon Publications, Inc. (626) - 1st printing
Place of Publication: New York, NY
Catalog #: Kelley Box 229: PS3507 .E883 C373 1954
Contributor: K. Quinlivan

General

Era: 1950s Author as on Cover: Thomas B. Dewey Geographic Locale: Chicago, Illinois Date of Publication: 1954  |  Original Date: 1954 Setting: urban; city streets, apartments, rundown neighborhoods, warehouses Motives: murder, revenge, hatred Alternate Title: Prey for Me

Plot Summary

Late one night, a disillusioned private investigator named Mac receives a phone call from the local police. It seems that a beautiful young woman known by two different names has just been murdered, and Mac's name is circled in her phone book. Why? Mac is unwillingly drawn into the case when he befriends the young man who found the body and who claims to be the victim's boyfriend. The boy's wealthy father hires Mac to help clear his son's name, launching an investigation into a shady business operation that uses religious pamphlets as a cover-up for mail-order pornography. As Mac follows up on a variety of leads, he uncovers a racket of professional hoodlums who quickly resort to violence to keep him from exposing their operation. When another lovely young lady suddenly arrives on the scene, Mac struggles with his own conflicting emotions as he delves into the secrets of her troubled past to identify the murderer.


Major Characters

Mac adult male, tough, smart, honest, former cop turned private investigator

Lieutenant Donovan adult male, middle-aged, squat, wide shoulders, Mac's mentor, outwardly gruff cop with a soft spot for Mac

Norman Krupp adult male, 21 years old, intelligent, sensitive, pale face, brown eyes, handsome, graduate student, son of a prominent department store owner

Aaron Krupp adult male, middle-aged, tall, portly, white hair, wealthy businessman and philanthropist

Marta Sandor adult female, small, blonde hair, sister of Barney Sorelle, dress manufacturer

Ben Champlain adult male, middle-aged, balding, muscular, commercial photographer

Barney Sorelle adult male, short, chubby, black eyes, tough guy and hustler, finances a mail order pornography business

Diana Peterson "Dinny" adult female, 30s, dark brown hair, glamorous model

Howard Jones "Howie", adult male, middle-aged, thin, sharp features, former janitor and porter, devoted former employee of Marta Sandor

George Keeler adult male, tall, thin, sandy hair, quick-thinking, newspaper reporter

Carl Peterson adult male, middle-aged, tall, thin, fanatic author of questionable religious pamphlets


Weapons

pillow (suffocation), blunt instrument, guns (used only as threats)


Level of Violence

murder scenes are described very briefly and with little detail. There are frequent fistfights since Mac has to regularly defend himself against bodyguards, ex-fighters and thugs.


Sexuality

no explicit sex aside from a few rather chaste hugs and kisses; Mac is attracted to Marta, but in a protective way.


Gender Roles

traditional; female characters are young and attractive; they are easy targets for unscrupulous businessmen, and are depicted as the victims of circumstances beyond their control. Men control the wealth and the power.


Ethnicity

none


Alcohol/Drug Abuse

most of the main characters drink at home and in nightclubs and bars, frequently as a means of relaxing after a hard day. Several characters smoke cigars, and cigarettes are frequently offered as an ice-breaker in social situations.


Law Enforcement

Mac and Lt. Donovan have a great deal of respect for each other, and although theirs is often a grudging admiration, they are willing to share information and leads as the case progresses. Mac has a very low opinion of most of the other police officers on the force, especially an officer named Robinson, a brutal, tough-talking bully who is eager to rough up witnesses and willing to accept bribes.


Added Features

social class lines are seen as impossible to break down. Mac refers to his own rough childhood and lack of formal education with regret, but he is grateful for learning survival skills from his mentor, Lt. Donovan. Mac learned his rough and tumble fighting skills in the slums and he seems resigned to the fact that a wide social gulf separates him from the more affluent social classes, a gulf that cannot be overcome. The news media ia portrayed in a negative light as a group without scruples or ethics, willing to take whatever steps are necessary to get the big story.


Subject Headings

Illinois - Chicago/ Detectives, Private/ Police/ Murder


Psychological Elements

Marta Sandor is very high-strung and on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Her turbulent past ultimately leads to violence, but Mac remains sympathetic toward her because of the abuse she has endured throughout her life. Mac is troubled by the fact that in his business he sees too many people die, and he remains haunted by their images.