The Cut Direct

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The Cut Direct
First UK edition
Author Phoebe Atwood Taylor (writing as Alice Tilton)
Country United States
Language English
Series Leonidas Witherall mysteries
Genre Mystery novel / Whodunnit
Publisher Norton (US)
Collins (UK)
Publication date
Media type Print; hardcover and paperback
OCLC 30405116
Preceded by Beginning with a Bash
Followed by Cold Steal

The Cut Direct is a novel that was published in 1938 by Phoebe Atwood Taylor writing as Alice Tilton. It is the second of the eight Leonidas Witherall mysteries.

Plot summary[edit]

It's a snowy day in Dalton (a New England town near Boston) and someone's trying to run over Leonidas Witherall, "the man who looks like Shakespeare". He's saved by brassy young Margie and her muscular boyfriend Cuff, but he promptly escapes them and is knocked down by another car. When he awakens, he's in the home of Bennington Brett, a former pupil, who is sitting stabbed in front of him. Witherall assembles a crew including the dead man's secretary, the lovely Miss Dallas Tring, two neighbors, Stanton Kaye and dotty housewife Mrs. Price (who owns the fatal carving knife), whose new maid is Margie. Together, the group races around Dalton in pursuit of clues and suspects, comes dangerously close to the second murder, and resolves matters by delivering the criminals to the police complete with confessions.

Literary significance & criticism[edit]

(See Phoebe Atwood Taylor.) This is the second Leonidas Witherall mystery novel and it parallels the tone which was maintained in the other seven. A murder occurs under embarrassing circumstances, and Leonidas forms a motley crew of assistants together in order to track down clues, chase around the town, and solve the mystery. There is a strong vein of humor and the plot is fast-moving.

The adventures of Leonidas Witherall were a short-lived radio series at about the time of this novel. In the novels, Witherall is also the author of a radio series about the adventures of stalwart Lieutenant Hazeltine. Some supporting characters, such as Margie and Cuff from this novel, are found in others as well.