Marriage for Murder – C.A.M. Donne (1937)

sascoverMaxie’s Magic Manhood Moss[1] is just one of many potions Maria purchases from Maxie Werner to land a fella.  The fact that she needs so many makes me think a Fitbit would be a better investment.

That is not the case, though.  Matt Rhodes, in Maxie’s shop to borrow money at a usurious rate, notices “beneath her thin white dress, the firm lines of her lithe body were exquisite.  Her small breasts, untrammeled by any brassiere thrust outward against the light fabric.  Her face was extraordinarily pretty with soft mouth and eyes, and proud nose and chin.  She was 18 or 19, he guessed.”

Apparently San Juan is a pretty small town, or Maxie’s is a really big shop.  As Maria turns to leave, she runs into Sylvester Jarvis, her former love interest who just married an older woman — for money, because MILFs had not been invented yet.  Like an episode of Lost, it just so happens that Rhodes knows Jarvis — he needs to borrow the money because Jarvis cleaned him out at the poker table.

When Jarvis suggests they should continue fooling around, Maria whips out a stiletto. Rhodes is a pretty good sport and grabs Maria from behind, and takes the knife from her, saving Jarvis.  Maxie loans him $30 and a good luck charm to use next time he decides to throw his money away by gambling.  He escorts Maria back to casa de Maria where she gives him a drink . . . dosed with Maxie’s Magic Manhood Moss!

As they are making out, Jarvis’s new wife Margaret shows up outside with a pistol — both are loaded.  She screams for her husband, thinking he is both inside Maria and inside with Maria.  She breaks in and mistakenly shoots Rhodes in the shoulder.  After he is conked on the head, he awakens to find Margaret dead, a stiletto in his hand, and Maria gone.  He suspects Maria framed him.

Maxie the full-service loan-shark stops by and tips off Rhodes that the police are on the way.  He has some ‘splaining to do about that useless-ass good luck charm too.  Maxie helps him to escape, but Rhodes realizes Maxie is just trying to set him up too, so he doubles back to the shop.  Sneaking into the cellar, he feels around in the dark until he finds Maria’s breasts.  She is tied up, and admits to killing Margaret, but says it was Maxie’s stockboy Vincenzo that conked Rhodes on the head.

Jarvis and Maxie were in cahoots.  Vincenzo, having a crush on Maria, tried to intervene. Rhodes ends up in control of the situation and forces Jarvis to write a confession, even to the murder that Maria actually committed.  He sees the two teens are crazy — and I mean literally loco — for each other, so let’s them go off together.

He does actually suggest they don’t keep any stilettos in the house.  No, really.


  • [1] It would be far too disgusting for me to mention that this sounds like the debris from manscaping.[2]
  • [2] Except for [1] where I just mentioned it.
  • First published in March 1937.
  • Also that month:  H.P. Lovecraft dies.

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