Come One, Come All

by | Jun 5, 2014 | Book Reviews

By: Dr. Fredric Neuman

“Come One, Come All” is a locked-room murder mystery, and a take-off on locked-room murder mysteries. It is a comic novel, but realistic. Abe Redden, the narrator, is a young psychiatrist who was widowed three years ago. He is, consequently, still depressed, yet retains an ironic sense of humor. He is skeptical, insubordinate and combative–yet kind. He is enlisted to help a beleaguered women’s health center in New York City The center is besieged by two groups of rioters, one supporting gay rights and the other right to life. They quarrel with certain programs of the center and, of course, with each other. The book treats the opposing points of view of the protestors and the clinic staff sympathetically. Two murders take place, and Redden, himself, becomes a target of the murderer. Redden meets Tina Cantor, the newly appointed head of a treatment program for sexual disorders and presumed author of a lurid and wildly successful novel about a sex treatment program in the Midwest. They fall in love. There is a very funny seduction scene that continues off and on throughout most of the book. Adam Adamson is a psychiatric patient who claims to come from 150 years in the future and is, therefore, able to foretell some of Redden’s future behavior. He is interviewed by the popular press and gives an hilarious account of life in the future. He claims to know something crucial about the murders taking place, but has forgotten just what. Many of the characters are psychiatrists, and so a subsidiary story line contrasts comically the psychoanalytic and the competing “organic” theories of sexual behavior. Cyril Kelly is in charge of the gynecological service at the Women’s Center. Despite being a devout Catholic, he performs abortions. He is given to telling outlandish (but true) anecdotes of sexual misadventures. Lieutenant Edgar Brown is a physically imposing, but soft-spoken, Black police detective in charge of the two murder investigations. All the action takes place in the context of a political dispute between the Mayor of New York and the Borough President. The setting is New York City and, more specifically, the Psycho-medicine ward at Bellevue Hospital and the streets in front of the Women’s Center. Since all the main characters are physicians, there is considerable discussion of medical conditions and medical mishap. Abe Redden, the protagonist of “Come One, Come All” appeared first in “The Seclusion Room and in “Maneuvers” He was described then by The New Republic as “an intriguing and totally sympathetic hero” and by the New York Times as “unusually well-drawn.”

Purchase Come One, Come All here…