redrighthagifThe Red Right Hand-Joel Townsley Rogers–1945–used

It’s almost impossible to describe The Red Right Hand. It’s kookie. Odd. Seemingly disjointed and nonsensical. It’s none of those things in the end, but it is something of a gigantic guffaw. Because you really need to set your suspension of  belief  at a very high level to believe the denouement. Yet, somehow that’s the charm of this book, it’s over the top explanation for all that occurs within.

“There is one thing that is most important, in all the dark mystery of tonight, and that is how that ugly little auburned haired red-eyed man, with his torn ear and his sharp dog pointed teeth, with his twisted corkscrew legs and his truncated height, and all the other extraordinary details about him, could have got away and vanished so completely from the face of the countryside after killing Inis St. Erme.

Dr. Harry Riddle narrates this riveting tale of a young engaged couple traveling to Maine to be married when they pick up a red haired hitchhiker and all hell breaks loose. Dr. Riddle happened to be on the road where the car disappeared and yet, he never saw it. He had to have seen it–everyone says so, it is a fact that it went past were he was, but he never saw it. When the young lady came screaming toward him sobbing about how her fiancée had been kidnapped by that terrible hitchhiker, he could only repeat he hadn’t witnessed the car passing by. At first the girl is taken aback when she sees Riddle–he has red hair and is a bit scruffy due to his car breaking down, and she mistook him for the dreaded little monster. Once straightened out, he is able to get her to the neighboring home of famed retired criminal psychologist  MacComerou where he proceeds to try to figure out what in the hell was happening around him.

Riddle begins his story after several other people have died, and is aware that he may be next. He’s writing his thoughts down, within what should have been well guarded house, but seems to have been left to fend for itself by the police responding to cries in the night. The story crisscrosses back and forth in time and setting, leaving an impression of chaos in its wake, and the underlining suspicion that Riddle is perhaps not all he claims to be, especially after he finds the hitchhiker’s hat happens to be one he owned years ago, and until he sees it on the lonely road, thought it still in his closet at home.

To write more of the plot wouldn’t necessarily give anything away, but it sure would serve to confuse the potential reader, lol. Everything about this book is up side down, from the suspect to the victim, to the murderer, and if you figure it out before the end of the book, you deserve a prize for most twisted brain!

100 Mysteries of All Time 

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