The sleepy town of Sherman seemed normal until Curt Friedland returned to clear his brother's name and get him out of jail. Now, a lot of accidental deaths are starting to seem like murder and housewife Velda Bayrd seems to be caught in the middle of things...
First off, The Prettiest Girl I Ever Killed is among the earliest serial killer novels. It stands up fairly well and has a nice "Who is the wolf in sheep's clothing" feel at times.
Velda Bayrd is unusual in that she's the heroine of a 60's noir novel and isn't a femme fatale or a doormat. She's pretty interesting character, drawn to Curt Friendland despite being in a comfortable, albeit boring, marriage.
The writing is very workmanlike but it serves the purpose well enough. I like that Curt Friendland's almost a sociopath himself, driven to clear his brother's name at almost any cost.
The reveal of the killer was a bit of a letdown, though there were a couple red herrings thrown in. There weren't enough likely suspects introduced to make my sleuthing efforts worthwhile. Still, the killer was pretty chilling once he was revealed and his background was explored a bit.
The Prettiest Girl I Ever Killed is an easy 3 and I'll be keeping an eye out for more paperback originals by Charles Runyon.