The other night there was a discussion on The Big Adios about Ace Doubles. One of the books shown was the double with Build Your Gallows High (Out of The Past) and Stranger At Home by George Sanders--yes, the droll actor. Sanders didn't write it of course, Leigh Brackett did. I've always though that this was one of Brackett's best books, certainly her best mystery. She'd moved away from Chandler's influence and wrote it very much in her own voice. Here's the review I posted:
The Brackett novel is excellent. I tried to get it back in print fifteen years ago but learned that I'd have to go through the Sanders estate. Then a lawyer told me that maybe I could go through Brackett's agent. But the point was moot. The line died after two seasons. Stranger is a favorite of mine. The place descriptions in the opening chapter are some of the finest writing she ever did. Sets a tone and mood that she maintains trough the entire book. There's also a debauched party scene that for the 1940s was pretty wild with adultery, kept women and even an implied gay scene. There is a gothic quality that envelopes everything and everybody in the novel. This is very upper crust stuff. I've always wondered if Brackett was influenced by the Patrick Quentin Broadway-Hollywood novels of the time, though she's never as fey as the Quentins. I'd put this on the Best of Brackett shelf. I just wish it was in print again.