I actually finished this over a week ago and failed to write about it. I picked it up on a whim after reading about a hiker going over Baldpate mountain which is real and thinking Baldpate… Baldpate… where have I heard that before? Well, it was part of the title of a mystery/thriller from 1913 called Seven Keys to Baldpate by Earl Derr Biggers, better remembered for Charlie Chan. If it is the same mountain, that’s the only real thing in the book. The inn and the towns mentioned do not exist. It is quite an amusing book and I would swear it was written 20 years later than it was, if I didn’t know. The breezy tone is very Thin Man-esque. I could totally see William Powell and Myrna Loy in this. They never did play these characters. The book was adapted into a movie 7 different times never with William Powell. It was also a play. Surprising how utterly forgotten it is given how popular it must’ve been. It’s somewhat old fashioned, and the story is fairly absurd, but it is also full of humor and the reader wants to find out what’s going on.
Billy Magee, best selling author of fluff, has decided to spend the next couple months at Baldpate Inn, a summer resort abandoned in the winter, in order to write the Great American Novel and add some depth to his reputation. He arrives at the town at the base of the mountain and causes a flurry by demanding to be looked after in his seclusion. Instead of telling him to get stuffed, the caretaker helps him out and they head for the empty inn in the middle of the night. Why, thinks I, doesn’t he spend the night at the inn in town and go to the inn in the morning? But no, the man has no sense and apparently the winter isn’t so wintry and the mountain not so mountainous that climbing up it at night is impossible. They arrive and he gets settled, but it isn’t long before other people start showing up. The place is not so much abandoned as fraught with activity. There are fishy political types, mysterious dames, odd professors, and no one is giving a straight answer about who they are or why they’re there. It’s a book as light and unserious as the books Billy Magee writes and while I didn’t find it wholly satisfying, I was entertained and will probably look for more Earl Derr Biggers.
This may cover the Book Featuring a Crime other than Murder for http://myreadersblock.blogspot.com/2013/11/vintage-mystery-bingo-2014-silver-gold.html