Lover of the Fancy

Early C20th American culture and dissent

Rocket to the Morgue
Anthony Boucher


A Golden Age mystery set in the Golden Age of science fiction. Legendary science fiction author Fowler Faulkes may be dead, but his creation, the iconic Dr. Derringer, lives on in popular culture. Or at least, the character would live on, if not for Faulkes’s protective and greedy heir Hilary, who, during his time as the inflexible guardian of the estate, has created countless enemies in the relatively small community of writers of the genre. Fully aware of his unpopularity, Hilary fears for his life after two near misses with potentially fatal “accidents” and calls the police for help. But when an explosive box of chocolates is delivered to his doorstep, it becomes clear that death awaits around every corner as the stalker, who has already killed, will find a way to murder him, no matter how impossible it may seem with so much police protection.  Detective Terry Marshall and his assistant, the inquisitive nun, Sister Ursula, will have to work overtime to keep the killer from catching him–a task that requires a deep dive into the strange, idiosyncratic world of science fiction in its early days.

With characters based heavily on Anthony Boucher’s friends at the Manana Literary Society, including Robert Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and Jack Parsons, Rocket to the Morgue is both a classic locked room mystery and an enduring portrait of a real-life writing community.

Paperback, 264pp
Penzler Publishers, 2019 (1942)
ISBN 9781613161364