Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Golden Frame by Joseph Chadwick

The Golden Frame by Joseph Chadwick
Gold Medal #493, Copyright 1955

I didn't want to lose her; in fact, I was beginning to want her again right now. But I was suspicious of even her tears.

Known more for his fine Westerns,
Joseph Chadwick also authored a few crime mystery novels in his day. And he didn't miss a beat with them. When I first looked at the cover of this one, I thought I had a romance story in my hands. Well, this is no romance novel. "The Golden Frame" is a novel filled with suspicion, doubtful trust, a violent ride into the West, and of course... murder.

Dave Burke arrives fresh off a freighter in Baltimore after spending two years working the oil fields in Saudi Arabia. The problem is he arrives broke, he blew his wad on dames and booze during a stopover in Paris. He contacts his stepbrother for a loan, who then tells Dave that he inherited a drilling rig and land in Wyoming from an old oil man that he worked for in the past. That same day he meets a vacationing schoolteacher named Anne Somers and he falls for her. Also that day he finds a dead P.I.
in his hotel room and Dave's gun put the bullet in the guy's head. Knowing this will be tough to explain to the cops, Dave hightails it out of Baltimore and Miss Somers is all to willing to assist. Believing someone is framing him to get hold of his newly inherited land, they head out to Wyoming to by time and think things out. Besides the cops, Dave and Anne have two killers on their tail and these two thugs seem to be always popping up wherever Dave and Anne stop. Dave gets roughed up and shot at throughout the trek Westward, and he starts getting suspicious of Anne's motives. Be he hangs with her and this may turn out to be a bad decision on his part. (or not)

He swung the gun up and clubbed down with it before I could throw the punch I had cocked. His blow caught me on the left temple. There was a burst of pain, then I was going down. The pain was so intense that I didn't feel myself hit the concrete.

Three things I really enjoyed in this paperback. First, I loved the action. It's fast paced and it's spread out evenly throughout the novel. There is really no lulls in the story. Second, it has a wonderful collection of supporting characters. The Baltimore cop called Hallaron, who is sent to investigate Dave Burke, is a likable wise droll. The two bastardly killers are also quite intriguing. And the third is the seesawing relationship between Dave Burke and Anne Somers. Just when Dave (and us as readers) is convinced that Anne is legit, something occurs that sways Dave into believing she is in on the frame up and out to get him. And this goes back and forth until the end of the novel. At times I just wanted to shout out, "Drop the bitch!" Joseph Chadwick delivers this very well and it is this ping-ponging drama that makes this noir novel rise above the average ones. Throw in an exciting ending, a bit of education around the oil business, and a taste of the West in the 1950s -and you have a well-written and darn good crime adventure in your hands.

Joseph Chadwick also wrote crime novels under the pseudo John Creighton and all of those were published by ACE in the Double Flip paperback format. I read a couple of them years ago before I knew Chadwick and Creighton were one and the same. I remember liking them, but
"The Golden Frame" definitely tops them.


Joe Jusko said...

Love your blog as I'm a huge collector of vintage crime and noir pb's! Is there any chance of getting a larger scan of the image under the August West header? I've never seen it before.

August West said...

Joe: I'll send you the jpeg image.

Joe Jusko said...

THANK YOU!!!! :-)

Frank Loose said...

The book sounds great. Thanks for sharing this review. Looks like I'll be going on the hunt for this one.

Joe Jusko said...


Just wanted to inquire about the scan you were going to send me. I never got it so I was wondering if it got lost somehow in the ether. :-)


August West said...

Joe: Every time I send you the jpg. I get a failure due to your verizon email server. Is there another way I can send you the Pic?

Joe Jusko said...

The email was changed some time back to the one you just used.

I changed it on my Blogger profile. Not sure why the Verizon one is still showing up.

Thanks, August!!


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