Richard Merriam Baker was born 1896 and his main series character was Franklin Russell who appeared in all the titles listed above. Any further information would be gratefully received..
Introduction by SS Van Dine
THE detective-story writer has a very clear ethical obligation to his public. To begin with, the writer of such stories must be scrupulously fair with the reader. He must not be like the man who propounds the conundrum: " What is it that is yellow, and has feathers and four legs, and flies, and barks like a dog?" And then, after you have racked your brain in vain and given it up, he tells you it is "two canaries." When you indignantly ask, "What about 'barks like a dog' ?" he tells you that he put that in merely to make it hard.
This sort of thing is neither legitimate nor in keeping with the noble ethics to which the writer of good detective fiction should adhere. Any child can make up a detective story consisting of irrelevant and misleading factors to make it hard. But it should, I believe, be the ambition of every detective-story writer to have some of his readers deduce the answer to his stated criminal problem before the final chapter.
I like Mr. Baker's present book because he has been perpendicularly honest not only in every statement of his problem, but also in every phrase and every event with which he has surrounded his basic murder problem. And I particularly like it for the reason that I was completely fooled and nonplussed as to the correct answer.