Of 15 average and better-than-average detective stories last month, four stood as best bets. In order of merit :
THE CASE OF THE SUBSTITUTE FACEErle Stanley GardnerMorrow ($2).
Mystery of a suspected embezzler, lost overboard on a trip from Honolulu to San Francisco, solved by Perry Mason with his usual combined detective-lawyer activity, culminating in some successful courtroom trickery. Excellent.
FRIDAY MARKETCatherine Meadows Macmillan ($2.50).
Slow-moving story, with first-rate characterizations and well-developed English village atmosphere, in which a fussy, ambitious lawyer turns into a murderer before the reader's eyes.
CRADLED IN MURDERRudd Fleming Simon & Schuster ($2).
An instructor in a New Orleans college, involved in the...