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Retirement. Publishers, thank you for the many years of reading pleasure you gave me, but all good things must come to an end. Due to failing eyesight I am forced to retire. I can no longer review your books, and any that you send will be donated to the local library, unread. Do not send any more. I can only read for a couple hours every day, and this does not allow me to finish a book in reasonable time. I will be devoting time to my own books from now on, and reading on a personal level. Books that interest me. I prefer paperbacks and hardbacks, not eBooks. My eyesight has been failing the last few years, and I cannot handle hundreds of review books any more. My books are still available for review. Anyone interested in reviewing any of them, they are found in the Link to Tom’s Books On Amazon. Contact me for pdf copies at

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Honey West Files Volume One

The Honey West Files Volume One (Detective Mystery)
By G.G. Fickling
Moonstone Books
ISBN #978-1936814176
Price $19.00
444 Pages
Rating 4 Stars

“A Classic Female Private Detective”

This volume contains the first three Honey West novels by man and wife writing team of G. G. Fickling during the late 1950s. The cover features Ann Francis, the actress who portrayed the character on the short-lived 1960s TV series.

In “This Girl For Hire”. when an old-time comedian is found murdered, and he was Honey’s client (we’re never told why he hired her), it’s a personal case for the Hollywood private detective. Returning to her office, she finds another man already there, he wants to hire Honey to look for the murderer among the television crew where he works, and the comedian had worked before his death. There are plenty of suspects, from the producer to the director, and the members of the crew. Honey is signed on as an actress to allay suspicion, but they quickly know she’s a private eye. And no sooner than she takes the case than more people are murdered. Each suspect seems to be eliminated with each death, and all the suspicion settles on one person in the end. But Honey isn’t satisfied. This is a good first mystery for Honey West, and the story is fun, though maybe a little over played.

In “A Gun For Honey”. A Horror movie director Rote Collier has hired Honey to protect his daughter from the Kissing Killer in Shark Beach. He’s throwing a big New Year’s Party, and is afraid the killer may strike at his daughter or young wife Helene. There has already been two kissing deaths. No sooner than she arrives at the party, pretending to be a model, than the young wife is found dead – murdered by the Kissing Killer. This was the first Honey West story I ever read, and it was very enjoyable, a good mystery, and plenty of suspects. Honey does have trouble keeping her clothes on, but it isn’t a nasty book, merely done in humor for most purposes. The plot was right out of the pulp magazines, in particular The Phantom Detective. Like The Phantom, Honey meets all the suspects right at first, then at the end of the story she gathers them all together where she uncovers the killer – just like The Phantom Detective and many other pulp detective stories.

In “Girl On The Loose”, late one night, Honey is mysterious kidnapped from her office forced into a Marine uniform then driver to a Marine base. Outside the post her abductor is gunned down and Honey is next, but she escapes. The Marines take her into custody as a deserter named Cylvia, but notifies the sheriff’s department about the killing off Post. Lt. Mark Stephens picks Honey up, and tells the incident at the military Post isn’t the only thing strange. At the time of the killing, in San Francisco the baby of a rich heiress is also kidnapped, and the perpetrator looked a lot like Honey West. Of the three novels I’ve read so far, this is the best one to-date. Though, after all is said and done, why the Honey West kidnapper had ever joined the Marines is still a mystery. She was a nurse, a racketeer’s moll, and working with a hidden mastermind. The bit with the Marines was just added dressing for the story. Still, a lot of fun, and the best so far.

Honey West is an iconic early female detective series the authors hoped to compete with the popularity of James Bond. I’m glad to see these books back in print, but the trouble with Moonstone is their editing. There are many typos in this volume that should have been corrected, and this copy was a sale copy, so it should have been ready for the market. Still, readers will find the story lots of fun, and the book is worth checking out.

Tom Johnson
Detective Mystery Stories

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