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Death Draws the Line
Written by Eric Reynolds | Filed under miscellany 3 Jun 2008 9:57 PM

 

I picked this old dime novel up at a second-hand store years ago for the comics connection and excellent cover and back cover:

 

 

At the time, I didn't even look inside, but the book includes about two dozen strips near the end that help solve the book's mystery:

The book is written by Jack Iams, whom I know nothing about, and is from Dell Publishing in 1948. Iams acknowledges a few comics-related folk in his 'Author's Notes':

'Acknowledgments' sounds unduly pompous in front of a murder mystery, but I would like to give credit for several assists, as follows:

First and foremost, to Bill O'Brian, whose cartoons have enlivened any number of magazines and newspapers, for the series of comic strips that wind up the book;

To Roy Crane, creator of 'Buz Sawyer,' for his help in the basic concoction of the story;

To Ward Greene, of King Features Syndicate, slave-driver-in-waiting to the aforementioned Roy Crane, for checking the manuscript and technical assistance" 

I'm not familiar with O'Brian or Greene, either, so if anyone has any info on them, post a comment! O'Brian's not a bad cartoonist, I can see a bit of a Gene Deitch influence in the Harold Gray-meets-Chester Gould storyline: 

 

  

UPDATE, courtesy my pal Paul Slade: Turns out Jack Iams was a pretty prominent journalist on both sides of the Atlantic, wrote for Newsweek, the New York Herald Tribune, the London Daily Mail and was, for his work as a novelist, once compared to Evelyn Waugh (!). He produced not only Death Draws the Line, but also The Countess to Boot (1941), Prematurely Gay (1948) and (my favourite) Do Not Murder Before Christmas (1949). You'll find more details of his life and work here and here. 

Thanks, Paul! Paul asked if I would post an example of Iams' prose, so here's a scan of page 1: