MYSTERY OF THE RADIO MURDERS [Hollywood Cowboy Detectives] by Darryle Purcell


In "Mystery of the Radio Murders" short story, the Hollywood Cowboy Detectives—Republic Pictures flack Sean "Curly" Woods, World Champion Rodeo Cowboy Hoot Gibson, and studio chauffeur Nick Danby—show up at a dreary mansion in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains where a troupe of radio actors are preparing for their next hardboiled detective murder mystery broadcast. Unfortunately life has decided to imitate art, and the lead actor of the Don Dunnett, Private Eye, series, Allen Lawford, is found murdered in the stables. A storm has cut the phone lines, the roads have become impassable, and the murderer is still in the house.

Could the culprit be former film director Victor Maloney, who has a chance to bring his radio detective program to Republic for a matinee serial? How about the aging stage actor Rex Bancroft, who currently specializes in voicing villains, bankers and attorneys? Is the bob-haired, brunette actress Lauren Powers the murderer? She has a reputation for doing what it takes to get ahead. Possibly the multi-talented voice actress Molly Jackson has done the deed? Scriptwriter Stanford "Flip" Wright may have killed Lawford because he became tired of persecuting him by putting embarrassing words in his mouth. Victor's son Jim Maloney, who is new to the business and portrays the lead's dimwitted sidekick, isn't thrilled to work with the egotistical star of the series. Did he murder the man who portrays Don Dunnett? Or could it have been Katherine Cheshire, the housekeeper who seems to appear out of nowhere and vanish the same way?

You can almost hear the sound effects as the storm increases, while the Hollywood Cowboy Detectives follow clues and face danger and death in Maloney Mansion. The tension grows to a climax as Curly gathers all suspects in a room to reveal not just a murderer, but also a web of evil that has enveloped the popular broadcast program.

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