Never Give A Millionaire An Even Break
by Henry Kane
What do you do when the dead guy in your girlfriend’s apartment disappears? Peter Chambers, New York private investigator, finds the situation thus. The other situation is his girlfriend is being hounded by a millionaire who has problems of his own with an estranged wife. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Enter another millionaire who wants Peter to enter a complex web of blackmail and untangle the threads.
I really can’t say more because this one is a hoot and besides I can’t say more without revealing too much. Kane’s mind is deliciously vicious when it comes to creating plots. This is a wild one all the way through.
Peter Chambers: private investigator, tall, smokes, drives a Chevrolet convertible
Arlene Anthony: 26, tall, attractive, heart-shaped face, high cheekbones, black eyes, red hair, long legs, crooked teeth, stage actress, smokes, real name Angelina Antoninni, from a farming family, only child, Peter’s girlfriend
Thomas Rutherford Lyons, Junior: millionaire, owns a yacht, married but separated, in love with Arlene, big muscular man, 6’3”, 36, curly blond hair, ice gray eyes, family money from plastics, co-producer on Arlene’s musical, owns Cadillacs, a Continental, and a Rolls Royce
David Holly: 47, millionaire, co-producer of Arlene’s musical, divorced because of infidelity, black hair, black eyes, black mustaches, hawk nose, baritone, slight paunch, tall, capped teeth, smokes
Stereotypical characters for this genre, but that’s all right. You expect them and enjoy them. Chambers, even though he finds himself in tough situations, doesn’t take himself too seriously. Not a comedian, but not a serious Joe either. Everybody drinks and smokes. I enjoyed the over-the-top personalities.
Conversations, for the most part are quick, clipped. A lot of back and forth.
First person from Chambers’ POV. Flowing words with repetitions every now and then. The story advances at a rapid rate because scenes are to the point. This is, of course, part of the pulp fiction crowd where the women are beautiful, the PI’s can take a punch or two but usually are knocked unconscious at least once, drink and smoke. Instances of profanity but not too many to get worked up about. Original and amusing similes. Kane has a way with words, uses some fancy ones now and then but it’s fun. I also enjoy reading a book from decades ago and reveling in the references: self-service elevators were just coming into use; answering services, and an interesting inclusion of a topic that was particularly interesting back in the day. I thought about brown belt but this is so wonderful I would read it again.