Tuesday, September 06, 2011


The Eighth Circle, Stanley Ellin, Random House Inc, 1958, 210 pp

This mystery won the Edgar Award in 1959. Murray Kirk is head of a private detective agency in New York City. He gets involved in a case centered around a cop named Lundeen who has been accused of taking a bribe from bookmakers.

Murray Kirk doesn't need the money or the headaches of this case. He has every material thing he has ever wanted and a mistress who is also his good friend. But he is in love with the beautiful and proper Ruth Vincent, Lundeen's fiancee. Murray Kirk takes this case with the intention of proving the cop guilty so he can have the girl.

The story takes a good while to get going, though all the characters and the workings of a detective agency are intriguing. Stanley Ellin contrived a complex story that weaves together a lawyer, a detective, cops, gangsters, women, and New York City society in the 1950s. He does not let the reader find out who is guilty until Murray Kirk does, right at the end of the book.

It wasn't the best mystery I have read but had some unique aspects and kept my interest all the way.

(Like many of the Edgar winners from the 1950s, The Eighth Circle is out of print. Check your local library or a used book seller.)

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