The FIRST Paul Mcdonald P.I. mystery by the Edgar-winning author of the Skip Langdon series
“A Prize Plot.” –San Francisco Examiner
“A bright, light, cleverly written tale.” –Cincinnati Post
He KNOWS TOO MUCH—but he doesn’t know what he knows…
Things were going lousy for ex-reporter Paul Mcdonald: No money, no girl friend, no bright new career as a mystery novelist … and then along came private investigator Jack Birnbaum with an offer: he’d detect, and Paul would write the client reports. It wasn’t much, but it would keep Spot the cat in Kitty Queen tidbits.
But then somebody poisoned Jack in Paul’s own living room. A day that begins with a body in your house really ought to get better, but next comes burglary and after that, assault-by-cop. And Paul’s got a feeling that’s just the beginning. There must have been something someone didn’t want him to know in one of those client reports. But what?
The wise-cracking, funny, but slightly depressed ex-journalist better become an ace private investigator in about two seconds—or end up like his detective mentor.
Birnbaum’s last report concerned a kidnapped child, so Paul begins there. The trail leads him to the laboratory of a Nobel laureate geneticist, and then to San Francisco City Hall, where an extremely nasty surprise awaits. But there’s an upside—lovely witness Sardis Kincannon. Nothing like falling in love while you’re running for your life!
“One more blithe San Fran outing with a likeable journalist-sleuth by the name of Paul Mcdonald … Smith improves with each story and this is her best to date.” –Kirkus Reviews
The San Francisco Bay Area shines here, as does the author’s wit and humor.
Fans of CASTLE, MURDER SHE WROTE, even ELLERY QUEEN will enjoy this fast-paced and funny take on the mystery-writer-as-detective. As will people who like their male sleuths wry, witty, and a little on the soft-boiled side—fans of Parnell Hall’s Stanley Hastings, say, Tony Dunbar’s Tubby Dubonnet, Gregory Mcdonald’s Fletch (this Mcdonald, it’s worth noting, is Paul’s personal hero), Lawrence Block’s Bernie Rhodenbarr, and especially Rex Stout’s Archie Goodwin. Female sleuths with a sense of humor remind us of him too—for instance, Criminal Minds’ Penelope Garcia and the immortal Amelia Peabody (of whom he’d be terrified if they ever met).
Want to sample the goods?
“That stuff’ll kill you.”
“What? Your coffee?” Jack was just doctoring his second cup.
“No. All that sweetener. You’re poisoning yourself.”
“We’ve all gotta go sometime.”
Jack went right about then. His eyes rolled back and he let go of the cup. Coffee sloshed all over my rug. His big body fell forward in the chair.
These were the facts: I was thirty-eight. I’d spent fifteen years on one major metropolitan daily or another. I’d written six unpublished detective novels. Unpublished in spite of my name.
John D. MacDonald did it daily. Ross Macdonald did it deeper. Gregory Mcdonald did it with dash.
Wrote thrillers and got them published.
But not Paul Mcdonald.
I just wrote them, supporting my habit with clients like Jack.
I had about two hundred bucks to last me the rest of my life.
My only client was dead.
The market for mysteries was terrible.
I didn’t get out enough.
The only thing I’d ever done successfully was write newspaper stories.
And I was sitting on a great story.
A story he can sell, if he can catch the murderer before the murderer catches him.
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