Friday, February 01, 2008


I can't remember where I heard of Evelyn Berckman; she must have been recommended to me by a visitor to Girl Detective. Anyway, I mentioned her in passing to Mr. Thrilling, and I was lucky enough to get two of Berckman's novels for Christmas.

The Hovering Darkness, Ace Books, 1957.

Denise Gilbert sailed for England aboard the luxury liner Queen Alexandra all unaware that she sailed in company with terror. (I hope they aren't sharing one of those really little cabins!) For her fellow passengers included a wealthy young couple fleeing with their child from a vicious kidnap plot.

Uh oh. I'm not a fan of child in jeopardy. Still, we'll give it a shot. According to the cover: "One of Miss Berckman's fine, luscious, romantic sweeps you right along." That does sound like fun!

First line: "The girl with the milk-white skin, and the cap of hair that looked like soft beaten gold, had to stand in line only a very short time, for there were very few passengers this time of year."

Definitely romantic-suspense. We can tell by the milk-white skin and hair of soft beaten gold.

And then we have the deliciously titled The Strange Bedfellow. Dell, 1956.

"A search for a legendary gem uncovers a terrifying secret from the past, with deadly links to the present."

I do so love terrifying secrets from the past with deadly links to the present, and better yet, this is about archeology!

It is the dream of every archeologist to discover something, (well...yes) to unearth some long-lost jewel that will set the literate of two continents buzzing. (Is this jewel a real jewel or are we talking about a jewel of a find?) For Martha Haven, the legendary Kali's Eye Ruby became that beckoning lure -- that single haunting obsession which she must pursue.

I like Martha. She sounds like me. Obsessive-compulsive. But with more fresh air in her life.

For how could she know that, in uncovering the ancient jewel, she would let loose a dark secret from the buried past -- a secret that could destroy her future?

Oooh. I like this.

First line: "The letter had been on her desk at the museum that morning."

I like that start too.

Anyone familiar with Berckman?