The Belialish Incident
By D. B. Crawford
Restauranteur and former amateur private eye Vince Bocca is asked to investigate an embezzlement by the president of his bank. Mark Overdale, a former employee, was convicted. Bocca teams with Mark’s wife, Nancy, who discovers Overdale has a connection to the art world. Boccas finds another connection to the art world, a dealer named Rubinski, who is subsequently almost killed. Questions abound: Where is the money? What do Gaugin paintings have to do with the case? What measures will Vince and Nancy take to solve the mystery?
I like a good mystery and I like a good PI. Give me a stereotypical fedora and trench coat wearing PI and I’m usually happy. Give me someone who is an amateur or a reluctant PI and I take a cautious but optimistic step. Vince, however, is someone I can like. The plot is complex enough to be intriguing without being confusing.
Vincenzo Bocca: late 40s, Boston restauranteur, former private investigator, wears reading glasses, curly hair, father-dead-owned a restaurant/gambling joint, divorced
Mark Overdale: blue eyes, graying temples, 6’2”, slim, handsome, in prison for embezzlement, has two sisters
Nancy Overdale: Mark’s wife, cleaning woman, former bank branch manager, straight black hair, owns a cat, father-dead-was a physician
Thomas A. Walker: bank president, 50s, pale, thin white hair, gray eyes
Hannah: dark hair, nurse, Bocca’s lover, pale blue eyes
Fred Dahl: police lieutenant, married, brown hair and eyes
Rupert Invers: runs an auction house for art
Joyce Chandler: works for the Museum of Fine Arts, married, gray shoulder length hair, fine features, widow
As I mentioned above I read a lot of mysteries where the PI is someone ‘off the street’ as it were, or has another job other than police or PI work. Most are okay, some above average. Vince is a guy I can like. He’s easy going, sensitive, and intelligent. He copes with his dad’s connection to the mob and I would have enjoyed a bit stronger tie in since it was mentioned. Maybe an old enemy coming back to haunt him. However, I can’t be writing other authors stories, just thinking about stuff. Lol. Doesn’t affect my liking Vince or my ranking of the story, just thinking about stuff. Lol.
The character name of Tom was used for two different people and I became a bit confused at one point. (Egads, and to think I did the same thing with John in one of my stories. Lol,)
Some of the tag lines are: was saying. These could have been just: he said. To me, ‘was saying’ might work if a character comes in during a conversation already happening. Ditto with the phrase: had been listening.
One problem right at the beginning is Nancy has a flashback to a trip two years previous. The flashback shows a scene with Mark’s interest in art, but Nancy wasn’t present at the time.
There is one scene where Vince and Dahl agree to meet at a storage locker in the morning. I would think for something important, the cop would track down the owner and want to investigate as soon as possible.
Minor profanity but not much. Good all around story.