MR. BOGGS STEPS OUT, or Face the Facts [The Innocents at Large Mysteries] by Clarence Budington Kelland

Ubergeek Oliver Boggs finds himself in a pickle and over a barrel—in love, murder and laughs!

This slightly pixilated romantic suspense novel from the Golden Age of Mystery is sure to delight fans of the signature silver-screen screwball comedies of the era (in fact, it was made into one in 1938, not long after it was published). This first ever U.S. book edition, from the author of Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, contains a Filmography, plus posters and stills from the hit move.

Statistics-obsessed researcher Oliver Boggs wins $1,500 (in 1936 dollars) in a movie theater contest when he correctly guesses the number of beans in a jar. Although Oliver is a timid geek, his older colleague, Mr. Jenkins, advises him to use the money to quit his job and seek romance and adventure. Oliver's quest takes him to Peckham Falls, a small upstate New York town, in which an idle barrel factory is for sale. Despite the warnings of some of the local citizens about the factory, Oliver buys it for $400. Then he encounters the factory's nerdy young secretary, who knows how to run the factory profitably and has been saving every penny she earns to buy the factory and run it right. Now Oliver has snatched that dream right out from under her. Some say when two geeks meet they hate each other, for Oleander that goes double where Oliver is concerned—and sparks fly.

But, after a while Oliver's head full of facts and naïve optimism have stolen Oleander's heart. Realizing how inexperienced and unworldly Oliver is, she decides to stay and help him run the factory. Oliver may know all the facts, but not the facts of life, and Oleander knows she has everything he needs—both in the office and the future bedroom.

Then, just as soon as Oleander decides Oliver is the man for her, Oliver meets Irene Ross, Peckham Falls' most glamorous and wealthiest debutante—and decides she is the woman for him. Which does not sit so well with Oleander.

Oliver, supremely confident due to his vast collection of facts, convinces the unemployed workers to go to work for him, promising he will pay them as soon as he convinces Irene's father, local pickle plant millionaire Morton P. Ross, to buy his barrels. But he soon discovers putting across the idea of buying locally sourced barrels to Ross is nothing like the shooting fish in a barrel he imagined.

And then…

But read it yourself, and if this dizzy, romantic comedy and attempted-murder (of Morton P. Ross, naturally) mystery doesn't make milk come out your nose, we'll be surprised. We are still wiping it off our faces.

Clarence Budington Kelland is the author of Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, made into the multiple Academy Award winning movie, and famed for his pixlilated romances and screwball mysteries.

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About the Author

Clarence Budington Kelland is a legendary Golden Age author of mystery and romantic suspense. Kelland penned some 100 novels, and selling them as serials to the biggest and highest-paying magazines of the time—like The Saturday Evening Post and The American Magazine. Many were immortalized on film, of which the romantic suspense comedy and Oscar winner, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, is undoubtedly the most famous. Kelland appeared alongside Agatha Christie, Rex Stout and Erle Stanley Gardner in the same magazines, but was the most popular of the four. His trademark dialogue and deftly plotted stories “made him an American tradition and won him more loyal, devoted readers than almost any other living author.” Kelland described himself as “the best second-rate writer in the world.” His legions of fans would likely disagree. There is nothing second-rate about his work.