| he Madman
Theory (August 1966)
Madman or murderer? That was the question and it was Police Inspector Omar Collins who had come up with the answer. All he had to go on was: the victim - Earl Genneman, wealthy president of Genneman Labs; the scene- right in the middle of a busy state park; the murder weapon - a shotgun that was still missing; the witnesses - Myron Retwig, Red Kershaw, Bob Vega, and Buck James, all friends or employees of the deceased; the motive - unknown; the suspects - everyone! Then he got a lukewarm tip from a real cool corpse, and a few clues started to click into place. But it wasn't till the third party turned up that the inspector was sure he was hot on the killer's trail. And by then, Collins knew he had very little time left to stop his madman from murdering again...!
At first it seemed as though only the Madman Theory could explain the brutal shotgun slaying which lay in wait for the friendly group of back-packing hikers. But Inspector Omar Collins, lean, gloomy-eyed, black-haired, was a painstaking man. The more he pursued it, the less he believed in the Madman Theory.
Earl Genneman, owner of a successful pharmaceutical company, is murdered, apparently from ambush, while on a backpacking expedition with several friends and employees. It’s up to Inspector Omar Collins of the Fresno County Sheriff’s office to find the murderer.
List of Characters at the beginning. Ghost-Written by Jack Vance.
Vance specialist Richard Chandler asked
himself if there were any clues in the novels themselves that gave away
their true owner.
He starts off by saying that all three stories Vance wrote for Queen are
set in California with a very strong sense of place. Although finding
The Madman Theory one of the least satisfying Vance EQ mysteries
Chandler found the authorship clues were clearly present. How about Bain’s
Sporting Goods (referring to the Joe Bain mysteries) or this passage?
However, there is a marvelous passage which to me is
so 'redolent' of Vance:
The game ended. No further manikins roamed the
("The Case of the Missing Vance", Richard Chandler in Cosmopolis N° 37, April 2003)
Nevins wondered if Vance knew that the Oz books were among Fred Dannay's favorites and did he just share Fred's love? The referral to "The Land of Oz" in Madman Theory was no coincidence since given Vance’s own repeated and enthusiastic declarations regarding Baum, as well as the obvious parallels between Vance’s favorite Oz book (The Emerald City of Oz) and several of his own stories.
|More recently the manuscripts of the three Vance Queens were partially recovered. They were restored and made available. So this story was published under its original title The Man who Walks Behind as a supplemental volume to the Vance Integral Edition in 2006. Evidently one of 400 copies printed. Sources report only 100 copies of this volume were printed which explains why it's a really rare find offered at prices ranging from $45 to $122,5
Other articles on this book
(1) Tipping My Fedora The Madman Theory Sergio (Aug 9. 2013)
(2) New York Journal of Books Russ Stover (Sep 18. 2012)
(3) University at Buffalo Special Collections
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