Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday's Forgotten Books: FIRST COME, FIRST KILL (1962) by Richard and Frances Lockridge

Friday's Forgotten Books is the weekly meme hosted by Patti Abbott at PATTINASE. Don't forget to head on over to Patti's blog to see what other forgotten books other bloggers are posting about today. Here's the link.

FIRST COME, FIRST KILL is not a Mr. and Mrs. North book, in case you were wondering when you saw the Lockridge name. Instead this is my first Captain Heimrich mystery authored by the husband and wife writing team, Frances and Richard Lockridge, who created the more famous series featuring Manhattan sleuthing duo, Pam and Jerry North.

Merton Heimrich is an upstate New York Police Captain, married and the father of a small son, Michael, whom both Merton and his wife Susan, refer to as 'the boy'. The boy is the 'owner' of a huge Great Dane named Colonel. The dog has lots to do with the mystery in FIRST COME, FIRST KILL, primarily because of his curiosity, and his doggy talents for sniffing and scratching.

Though once upon a time I read all the Mr. and Mrs. North books I could get my hands on, they now seem dated to me. (At least the one or two I've read within the last couple of years.) The Heimrich book seems fresher to me.

This is a fairly simple case of murder in which the cover-up and the unexpected identity of the victim, obfuscate the obviousness. Mistaken identity comes into it as well as well one of my favorite mystery gimmicks: dying last words. In this case, the last words of an old handyman who drops dead from a rifle shot in the Heimrich's driveway, in full view of Susan Heimrich and Colonel, waiting for the school bus to drop off 'the boy'.

A fairly low key, though very enjoyable mystery even if I figured out who did what to whom about halfway through. If I find anymore Captain Heimrich books, I'll be reading them.

I first heard about the Heimrich books by reading a review on one the blogs I frequent but damn if I can remember where. I apologize for that.


  1. Hello Yvette:
    Well, you certainly did not hear about the Heimrich books from us as we have only just been introduced, via you!

    We are not sure whether these particular books will have an appeal for us but,not knowing them, we shall certainly seek one out to give it a try.

  2. Jane and Lance: I don't know if this is a book for you. But there's no telling what will spark an interest in any reader, that's for sure. I'm just happy you dropped by. :)

    "No two people read the same book."

  3. Assuming the dog is fine? :<)

    I've recently read a story by Norbert Davis which features a Great Dane named Carstairs.

  4. Oh yes, Nan. After a mishap, the dog is fine. :)

    Norbert Davis. Another new name for me. Thanks for the tip.

  5. BV Lawson recommended this one back in October:

    I've only read some of the Lockridges' short fiction, so I might need to go find this one...

  6. Todd: Thanks for letting me know. I didn't mean to post on a book someone else had already talked about on this meme.

    But I couldn't remember where I'd seen the recommendation.

    Oh well.

  7. Not the first time this has happened! No crime.

  8. Yvette:

    Or you could have seen Heimrich on my blog...I've talked about him too. And the Norths. I love me some Lockridge! Got some lined up for challenges next year too!

  9. Another Heimrich that you might look for:

    And Lt. Nate Shapiro is another recurring character that you like:

  10. Well that settles it for me, thanks Yvette - after a slightly disappointing reunion with the Norths recently I am definitely going to seek out one of the Heimrich books - thanks. Was this a typical entry in the series do you think?


  11. Bev: Thanks for the info about Heimrich. Yes, it might have been your blog as well. If only I could learn to keep track...!!

    I will definitely loook for the titles you've suggested.

  12. Sergio: This is my first and only Captain Heimrich book so I'm not sure about the rest or if this one was typical or not. Why don't you check with Bev over at My Readers' Block. She knows way more about the Lockridges and their work, than I do.

    There's a link to Bev's blog on the lower right hand side of my blog. Just scroll on down.

    All I can say is that based on this one book, I'll be reading more Heimrich.


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