Clifford Knight. Death and Little Brother (1952) 224 pp.
At Lake Tahoe, Mike Riley—a political reporter for a Sacramento newspaper—is on a much-needed vacation. His family owns a home there and he had grown up spending summers at the lake and falling in love with Charlotte Kersey, the beautiful daughter of a wealthy San Francisco family who also own a Tahoe home. Shortly after Mike arrives, the teenage son of the Kerseys’ maid is found dead in his small boat in the middle of the lake. He’s got a bullet in the middle of his back. Then the Kersey matriarch, Grandma Whitfield, is found murdered in her bedroom, her throat slashed. Although there are plenty of suspects in both killings, everyone’s favorite is Charlotte’s younger brother, Lloyd, who has recently beaten a murder rap in New York for lack of evidence. But is he really guilty, or is someone trying to frame him? Mike thinks he’s a louse (his opinion of Lloyd is the main reason he and Charlotte were never able to make anything of their mutual attraction to each other), but he doesn’t believe him capable of murder. As the local cops and the newspapers descend onto the scene, Mike is torn between his duties as a reporter and his desire to protect Charlotte and, by extension, her brother. Although very little of the action takes place in the Bay Area—both funerals are conducted in San Francisco, but neither the crimes nor any investigation take place there—Baird & Greenwood list San Francisco as a locale and Don Herron included this title in his original checklist of San Francisco mystery fiction.
Baird & Greenwood 1403