MURDER MAKES A MARK [The Birth of Television Trilogy, Book 3] by Clarence Budington Kelland

“The dialogue rings true and the plot is cheerful and diverting. A lively story designed to prick the jaded palate.” —The New York Times

In this last volume of the Birth of Television Trilogy, Kelland once again combines humor with suspense, adding an engaging romance between a man just coming into his own and a woman who refuses to divulge her secrets. Readers will not only learn about the inner workings of a circa-1956 local television station, but will meet a new ensemble of colorful characters, such as:

  • Avery Truslow III, would-be writer. He made a deal with his billionaire father to spend six months trying to turn around a failing TV station in return for the freedom and capital to pursue his dream—but what happened next was more fantastic than any plot he’d ever dreamed up;
  • Felicia Sewell, whom Avery picked up at the side of the road in the dark of the night. When she asked him to take care of the briefcase she was carrying, Avery should have said no.
  • Tom Skeen, former station manager replaced by Avery. Skeen had been deliberately running the station into the ground and did not welcome anyone new managing it in earnest—but who was he really working for…and why?
  • Deke O’Brien, the only man at the station who hadn’t been seduced by Skeen’s venomous tongue. He was loyal to Avery—but only so long as he remained alive;
  • Footsy Bundle, a young, eager wannabe announcer. Avery took him under his wing—which was not, as it happened, a very safe place to be;
  • Gwen Silver, Avery’s private secretary at the station. Avery knew she was betraying him to Tom Skeen—so why did he keep her on?
  • Parsifal Nebo, the gleefully fat man who carried a Chihuahua in each capacious coat pocket. He owed Avery his life, but his loyalties still lay elsewhere;
  • Philador, the racketeer. He was handsome, smooth, and dangerous, but not as dangerous as the two bodyguards who accompanied him everywhere—a better word for them might be “assassins”;
  • Hubert Aldrich, billionaire financier. He dies minutes before the story starts—but his death casts a long shadow.

[One of the above is a CIA agent; can you guess who—or why?]

Avery Truslow III, a rich man’s son with an aversion to work, makes a mistake when he lets his tycoon father persuade him to save a TV station from bankruptcy. Avery makes a second error when he gives a ride to a certain redheaded hitchhiker—and a third when she hands him a mysterious briefcase that proves to be a magnet for murder. Those three mistakes begin to pile up on his shoulders until there seems no way out but failure at the TV station and likely death from a group of very determined criminals. The untrained and untried Avery must develop business acumen, and do it fast if he is to solve a number of pressing problems, including the highly necessary one of separating his friends from his foes. If he guesses wrong, he knows that will be four strikes against him—and he’ll have made the mistake most likely to prove fatal.

“Romance bright and breezy. The Kelland touch makes it easy reading.” —Kirkus Reviews

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About the Author

Clarence Budington Kelland was author of nearly 100 novels of mystery and romantic suspense, had enough careers for several men: attorney, reporter, manufacturer of clothespins, director of a major newspaper group, and more. Kelland became best known as a fiction writer, penning some 100 novels, and selling them as serials to the biggest and highest paying magazines of the time—like The Saturday Evening Post, The American Magazine, Colliers, and Cosmopolitan. 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. The New York Times described Kelland’s novels as “lively stories, designed to prick the jaded palate, that keep readers pleasantly entertained” and noted that “Kelland demonstrates the emotions of his lovers with a psychological penetration.” Kirkus Reviews called his novels “Bright and breezy, with plus appeal for murder-mystery addicts.” His magazine publishers kept besieging him for more novels because every time they serialized one of them (typically in 6-8 installments), circulation shot upward. Kelland obliged, and produced far more each year than his publisher (Harper and Row) could keep up with, leaving more than three dozen unpublished in book form when he died. His inimitable characters, trademark dialogue and deftly plotted stories, according to Harper, “made him an American tradition and won him more loyal, devoted readers than almost any other living author.” Kelland, as ever self-depreciating, simply described himself as “the best second-rate writer in the world.” His legions of fans, old and new, would likely disagree. There was nothing second-rate about his work.