Welcome to Mystery Monday. Today’s feature is a delightful parody of the hard-boiled detective personified on screen by Humphrey Bogart. Pawlish‘s detective, Reed Ferguson, is a big fan of Bogie’s, and even has a large poster of The Big Sleep on his office wall for inspiration. This Doesn’t Happen in the Movies Amazon is the first in the Reed Ferguson Mystery series.
Reed’s first client is Amanda Ghering and she wants him to find her husband, Peter, who she claims is both missing and dead. The police, she feels, aren’t giving the case the attention it deserves and so she wants Reed to look into it. Peter was on a business trip and hasn’t been in touch for more than a week in the east and didn’t use his return airline ticket. Both Reed and the police feel Amanda knows more than she’s saying and may even be responsible for Peter’s death although without a corpse it will be difficult proving anything.
While Reed wants to be a cool Bogie character, telling the story in a stream of consciousness, he unfortunately seems to be in over his head. Mrs. Ghering alternates between a seductive vamp and a ‘walking hangover’, Peter was an unfaithful spouse, and someone seems to be stalking Reed, trying to warn him off the case. Before he knows it, Reed is the target of a vengence-seeking women’s group which carries out vigilante justice. His pal, computer hacker Cal Whitmore, helps him track down information, his goofy neighbours are rather reminiscent of the three stooges except there are only two of them (the third brother lives elsewhere and seems to have some smarts), and there are enough cloak and dagger scenes to satisfy any film noir fans.
The conclusion of the case was fairly surprising and quite satisfying. This was a very quick read — a page-turner — and lots of fun. There was one rather glaring error in the book when Reed gets “dropped off at the side of the road near Interstate 70 and Quebec [?] on the eastern side of metro Denver.” I don’t think that’s supposed to be Quebec! Despite that, this was a fun romp and I’ll be looking forward to reading more in this series. * * * 1/2
If you, too, are a fan of mysteries, I hope you’ll not only enjoy my Monday posts but will contribute by publishing your own Monday Mystery, mentioning my meme, then come to my blog, comment on your mystery (or mine) briefly, and include the link directly to your mystery review. You can also copy my MMM badge to your post.