Monday, May 24, 2021

The Deadly Percheron by John Franklin Bardin

 Here are symphonic poems by one of my favorite composers:  Dvorak.


 This book was written by the author of The Last of Philip Banter, a book I reviewed earlier. This book actually precedes Philip Banter, but only one character connects the two books and he plays a minor role in the later novel.

A Psychologist, George Matthews, meets a young man named Jacob Blunt, who informs him that he performs certain bizarre duties in order to get paid by, wait for it....Leprechauns.

Now what Blunt wants to know is, are the Leprechauns real or is he crazy? Quite a conundrum, eh?

Matthews does not believe for a moment there are Leprechauns toddling about in the world, but does wonder if the man is hallucinating or is someone playing a strange hoax on him and if so, why?

Matthews and Blunt go to a bar where the Leprechaun is supposedly waiting for them and will assign the man his next task.

Indeed there is a dwarf there and he is dressed like a Leprechaun. In fact he insists he is a Leprechaun. He angrily hops up and down on his bar stool as he gives his geneology dating back to Old Ireland (the story takes place in New York City).

Then the Leprechaun tells Blunt that his next assignment is to deliver a Percheron to a famous Broadway actress who lives in Manhattan. In fact the Percheron is waiting outside.

Incidentally, for those of you who aren't horse people, Percherons are large draft horses.

Matthews thinks the whole thing is off and tries to persuade Blunt to refuse the task. The man laughs it off and, even though he is quite rich and has a trust fund, he enjoys making his own money. Apparently the Leprechaun pays him well.

Blunt delivers the horse only to find the actress dead. He is then arrested for the murder, even though he insists he didn't do it.

Matthews arrives at the jail to bail him out, but a different man comes out to meet him, claiming to be Jacob Blunt. Matthews insists this is not Jacob Blunt the man he was counseling and that is the last thing he remembers as something crashes over his head from behind.

When he comes to, Matthews is in a mental hospital and he discovers that it is nine months later. He cannot remember anything between the time he was knocked out and the time he wakes up in the hospital.

This story is a brilliant tale of psychological displacement. You question everything, not knowing what is real or not until the very end. Even then, things seem to fly apart. I only know that Matthews somehow survives because he has a brief role in the next novel.

I highly recommend this sort of story for those who love Psychological Crime Noir written during the Golden Age of Mysteries. 

 Am I the only one who finds piggy rumps adorable?


mudpuddle said...

this book really sounds off-the-wall! i really have to investigate Bardin! i just finished a post about pk Dick and the two seem to be from the same zoo... great post, tx...

received your letter; you really have a talent for those Oriental depictions; Ms. M liked it a lot also, and, being a painter also, is pretty hard to please. thank you very much! and tx for the info re RT and Brian; hope to see them again some time...

Sharon Wilfong said...

HIm mudpuddle!

Who is PK Dick? I don't think I've read him.

I'm glad you both liked the postcard. Right now I'm practicing painting dachshunds in watercolor. Last week I dog sat a couple.

mudpuddle said...

he was a science fiction author who was popular in the sixties and seventies... they made movies out of some of his books fairly recently; Blade Runner and Total Recall come to mind... my post this week is about one of them, "The Zap Gun"...

Sharon Wilfong said...

Oh, Philip K. Dick. Yes. He's my husband's favorite sci fi writer. For his birthday one year, I bought him the complete Library of America collection.

I read...what was it?...The Minority Report? It was great as both a novel and a movie starring Tom Cruise.