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John J. Malone Books In Order

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Publication Order of John J. Malone Books

Eight Faces at Three / Death at Three (1939)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Corpse Steps Out (1940)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Wrong Murder (1940)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Right Murder (1941)Description / Buy at Amazon
Trial by Fury (1941)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Big Midget Murders (1942)Description / Buy at Amazon
Having a Wonderful Crime (1943)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Lucky Stiff (1945)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Fourth Postman (1948)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Double Frame / Knocked for a Loop (1957)Description / Buy at Amazon
My Kingdom for a Hearse (1957)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Name is Malone (1958)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder, Mystery and Malone (1963)Description / Buy at Amazon
But the Doctor Died (1967)Description / Buy at Amazon

The John J. Malone novel series is a widely popular series of mystery, thriller, and crime fiction stories. It was written by a renowned American writer named Georgiana Anna Randolph Craig under the pseudonym of Craig Rice. The series is comprised of a total of 14 books released between 1939 and 1963. Each of the books of this series features the main protagonist in the form of a Chicago-based lawyer named John J. Malone. Other recurring characters featuring in the books alongside John J. Malone include Helene Brand and Jake Justus. Other essential characters created by Craig Rice in the novels include Aunt Alexandria, Holly Inglehart, Mona McClane, Senator Pevely, Jay Otto, Anna Marie, Roderick Fairfax, Alberta Commanday, Tommie Storm, Max Hook, Delora Deanne, Eula Stolz, Hazel Swackhammer, Eva Strauss, Melville Fair, etc.

Craig Rice has set the books in various locations in Illinois. The debut book of the John J. Malone series written by Craig Rice is entitled ‘8 Faces at 3’. It was released by the International Polygonics publication in 1989, following its initial release in 1939. The novel opens by showing the first meeting of Helene Brand and Jake Justus over the dead body of Aunt Alexandria. They discover that the victim was stabbed 3 times and left to freeze in the chilling winter outside the wide-open window of her house. As Jake and Helene begin to investigate the case, they come up with the main suspect as the murdered lady’s niece named Holly Inglehart. Holly tells the police a crazy story about a nightmare in which alarms went off, all the clocks showing the time as three o clock, and a killer who made beds. And when the police do not believe her story, Jake Justus does not blame them.

As Jake investigates further, he again crosses path with Helene, who is one of the Inglehart family’s socialite friends. She appears to be too beautiful for his peace of mind and too clever for the local authorities. Knowing that Holly Inglehart would require legal help, Jake brings her case to the hard-drinking, hard-boiled lawyer from Chicago, John Joseph Malone, and asks him to defend her. This way, the trio of smart detectives is formed, who go on to solve the mystery of this case and many more others that came their way.

Another excellent novel penned by Craig Rice in this series is called ‘The Big Midget Murders’. It was also published by International Polygonics in 1991, after its first release in 1942. This book consists of the primary characters as Jay Otto, Max Hook, John J. Malone, Jake Justus, and Helene Justus (nee Brand). Initially, it is shown that Jake Justus is a great publicity agent, but a bad businessman. After marrying the gorgeous and wealthy Helene Brand, he is determined not to live like a kept husband. Jake doesn’t even want to take Helen on rigorous tours with his bands. So, he decides to buy a nightclub named Casino. The nightclub seems to be the most exclusive and hottest club in the town and considered a real moneymaker by many.

After acquiring the nightclub, Jake begins its remodeling work and also enlarges the club’s area with the money he borrowed from a gangster named Max Hook, who is notorious for being a rough man when it comes to loaning money. Max doesn’t like it when any of his borrowers miss the deadline to return his money. To attract customers and make fast money to pay off the loan, Jake hires Jay Otto, better known as the Big Midget. Jay has the reputation of being a great entertainer and has a large fan-following. People desperately wait in line to see him perform. His hilarious, cruel impersonations of other performers don’t go well with many people and this puts him in a dicey situation. To solve the problem of a clause in Jay’s contract, Jake invites John Malone to look into it. Later, when Jake, Helen, and Malone visit Jay’s dressing room after his last performance, they find him dead.

It comes as a great shock to Jake as he had bet all his money on Jay Otto. He cannot afford his nightclub to shut down for the investigation as he owes a huge amount of money to Max Hook. So, he asks Malone and Helene to help him hide Jay’s body for the time being and then relocate it to somewhere else for the cops to find it. After doing so, the three friends begin investigating the case to find out the person who killed Jay Otto and the motive behind the cruel act. However, nothing goes as per their plans and hilarious complications arise that make the story an intriguing and exciting read. This book describes an entertaining and fast-paced story with Helene, Jake, and Malone at their best. Craig Rice has shown a perfect mesh of the high-society friends of Helene, show biz buddies of Jake, and the gangster pals of Malone. It goes well with the flow of the story and helps to make it look more interesting and noteworthy.

Craig Rice was a well known American writer, who specialized in crime fiction stories. She was born on June 5, 1908, as Georgiana Ann Rudolph Craig in Chicago; and died on August 28, 1957, in Los Angeles. Her mystery books and short stories had achieved worldwide popularity and had helped her to become a prominent author of her time. Craig was sometimes described as detective fiction’s Dorothy Parker. In June 1946, she became the first mystery author to feature Time Magazine’s cover. During the initial days of her career, Craig Rice used to write for The Chicago American and The Milwaukee Journal. She even worked for several radio stations at that time.

Craig came up with her first fictional character named Professor Silvernail while working for WCLO. She tried writing novels and poetry for numerous years, but hardly achieved any success. It was only after she came up with the character of John Joseph Malone that her novels started doing well. It was also with the first John J. Malone book that she adopted the pen name of Craig Rice. The author was particularly famous for writing gritty, uniquely combined hard-boiled detective fiction stories. For some time in her career, Craig also worked as George Sanders’ ghostwriter. Because of her close friendship with Gypsy Rose Lee, her fans used to think that she had also ghostwritten Lee’s two wildly famous mysteries. In the later years of her career, Craig collaborated with authors such as Ed McBain and Stuart Palmer. More than seven decades have passed after Craig’s death, but she still has a special place in the hearts of the fans of mystery stories because of her unique writing skills and her excellent novels.

Book Series In Order » Characters » John J. Malone

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