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jenn

Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

It's in the Book by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins

Bibliomysteries: Stories of Crime in the World of Books and Bookstores - Otto Penzler

When Halloween Bingo was kicking off, and we had to submit the seven squares we didn't want included on our card, I was a little bit flummoxed, because there were 9 squares on my list.  I knew I wouldn't be able to convince Moonlight Reader to just give me three cozy mystery squares instead, so I had to pick the 2 lesser evils.  Classic Noir was one of them.  I'm generally not a fan of the sub-genre as it's all a bit too 'dame' and 'broad' for me; the slang wears on my nerves after awhile and feels too affected.

 

But I'd just received Bibliomysteries: Stories of Crime in the World of Books and Bookstores;  it's the (presumably) first collection of the Bibliomysteries Otto Penzler commissions from authors each year, which he then publishes to offer first as gifts to his good customers, then to sell to the general public.  One of the stories is It's in the Book; originally started by Mickey Spillane before his death, it was found amongst his papers and Max Allan Collins finished it for Penzler.  I don't know if Spillane meant for it to be a short story, but it certainly works beautifully as one.

 

Hammer is hired, first by the NYPD, then by the mafia. Both want the same book:  a ledger allegedly used by a recently passed Don to record every nefarious deed and transaction he ever undertook.  Names are named and nobody wants it to see the light of day, although a few would kill to use it themselves.

 

It was a lot of fun riding along with Hammer as he makes short work of finding the book, and while the noir was thick, it wasn't overdone (perhaps by virtue of being a short story).  The ending is purposefully foreshadowed early on, making me think that it was more about the action and savoir-faire than about the conclusion of the 'mystery' itself.  Collins did offer up a slight, pretty comical twist at the end, and it had me smiling as I closed the book last night.

 

I won't rush out to read more noir, but I definitely had a good time with this one!