I'm sure there are a few of you out there who remember, as I do, what it was like to spend hours in front of a radio listening to shows that meant adventure (Superman, Green Hornet, Hopalong Cassidy etc) and shows that meant laughs (I loved Jack Benny, The Great Gildersleeve, Bob Hope (who knew what a dick he was in reality?) and of course Fibber McGee and Molly.
Two of the shows my little brother and I liked best were The Lone Ranger and Tom Mix. The Lone Ranger was sponsored by Cheerios so of course we wanted to eat same while the show was on. No problem because Cheerios were great. The trouble came with cowboy legend Tom Mix. He had the coolest offers. Send in a box top and a quarter and you could get a pair of authentic plastic glow-in-the-dark spurs. We had a deal with our mother. She'd buy us any cereal we wanted as long as we promised to eat all of it. Tom Mix was sponsored by Chex, which has always tasted to me like ground up concrete. But we had to eat it to get those spurs. It was worth it because in the dark of our room we could see the spurs hanging off our shoes. Pretty damned cool.
I was reminded of this while I was reading the new Crippen and Landru collection The Casebook of Gregory Hood, the scripts of fourteen radio shows by none other than Anthony Boucher and co-creator Denis Green. The shows were not only Golden Age Radio they were Golden Age Mysteries. Gregory Hood is one of those amateur sleuths who learned his stripes reading the Sherlock Holmes stories. He's a wealthy man of course and a dashing figure even among all the other dashing figures.
The whodunit set up challenges the reader to guess along with the detective. And they're a lot of fun, so much so that I'll probably invest a little and buy some of the tapes as well. There were a number of similar shows on radio over the decades (John Dickson Carr had a pretty good one) but I'd give the nod to Boucher because the way he has fun with the clues--a beeswax candle anyone?
The Crippen and Landru `Lost Classics' are always important additions to the general mystery library. And this one is no exception.