Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday's "Forgotten" Books - Hugh Pentecost

Hugh Pentecost's name came up as a question to librarians the other day, and I remembered how much I used to love the Pierre Chambrun mysteries. Pentecost was a pseudonym for Judson Philips, who wrote other series under the Pentecost name, including the Uncle George mysteries, the John Jericho ones, and the Julian Quest books. But, my favorites were the Pierre Chambrun books, set in one of New York's finest hotels.

Chambrun was a resistance fighter during World War II, and that experience is helpful with some of the problems that occur in a luxury hotel. He's now the suave hotel manager of the Hotel Beaumont. The hotel has permanent residents and a nightclub, and those elements are sometimes important in the course of the series. When hotel security encounters problems, everything from murder to theft to espionage, Chambrun steps in with the help of Mark Haskell, the hotel's public relations director, and the narrator of the stories.

By situating the stories in a luxury hotel, Pentecost was able to deal with the worlds of the rich and famous. Race car drivers, tycoons, wealthy widows, writers, politicians and celebrities visit the hotel, and often die there, or cause other problems for the staff.

The Pierre Chambrun mysteries were written between 1962 and 1988. I know I read them in the same period I read Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe mysteries. These were books that, like Stout's, had a witty, single narrator, who reported cases involving his boss. I'm sorry they are not as well known as the Nero Wolfe books, because I remember enjoying Pierre Chambrun's world.

Some of Hugh Pentecost's books are still in print. If you're a fan of Nero Wolfe, these are worth trying to find. Or, if you just want a good traditional mystery, set in New York City, check these out.


pattinase (abbott) said...

I've read one or two of these but can't remember which or when.

Lesa said...

Patti, I read most of them. I went through them just as I went through the Nero Wolfe books. I really liked Pierre Chambrun and Mark Haskell.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Fact is Stranger than Fiction!! Patti & Lisa, you won't believe this - Hugh Pentecost's Pierre Chambrun's Beaumont Hotel series is what I had planned on doing for Patti's "Friday Forgotten Books" on Dec. 12th. I couldn't believe it when I saw your post, Lisa! What are the odds. Oh well, I've enjoyed rereading them all. I'm trying though to figure out which was the last book we saw Alison Barnwell and John Wills before they were replaced by Mark Haskell and Betsy Ruysdale?? And when did the 2 penthouse apartments get replaced by 3 penthouse apartments?? I've ordered some of the books I seem to be missing between those that I have and those the library has. So its been fun. But now - back to the drawing board for my "Friday Forgotten Books!"

Lesa said...

Kaye, That just shows that Pierre Chambrun is worthy of remembering! You probably would have done a better blog than me as well, since you've been rereading them, and it's been quite a while since I've read one. Hmmm. I don't even remember Alison Barnwell and John Wills. I remember Mark and Betsy Ruysdale.