Gumshoe for Two
The Great Gumshoe is back! Novice private investigator Mortimer Angel --- a former “wallet wringer” for the IRS, “our nation’s Gestapo” --- returns with Jeri DiFrazzia, who is now Mort’s boss and fiancée.
Hooker Holiday Breeze again thickens the mix, but Ms. Breeze is actually Nevada university engineering student Sarah Dellario, who has an IQ higher than Reno’s hottest summer day. Sarah/Holiday is in hooker guise searching for her missing younger sibling, Allie, who indeed worked as a prostitute. As stated in the original GUMSHOE, “You don’t gloss over that kind of weirdness.”
"A brutally shocking dénouement left me breathless and made me long for a lightning rod."
With Jeri’s blessing, Sarah (“A vamp, but not a vampire”) and Mort become a pair of gumshoes searching for Sarah’s sister --- and share a bed in a small-town Nevada hotel. Disembodied heads don’t find their way to Mort, but you have to hand it to Super Sleuth. Literally. Via FedEx, someone sends Senator Harry Reinhart’s unattached hand: “When a presidential candidate’s shaking hand turns up without the candidate, it makes for a real fine story.”
Affairs get complicated, and Jeri calls in her PI mentor, Maude “Ma” Clary: “Ma was the Big Gun. In the first minute I had her pegged as a .44 Magnum.” Ma is from the old school of private investigators, and immediately commands respect and admiration, a literary keeper sure to appear in future installments.
The plot shifts from finding Sarah’s sister to locating Senator Reinhart’s remaining body parts, especially since he couldn’t keep one of them in his pants: “Thoughts about this search for Allie were getting bulldozed off a cliff.” But Mort and Sarah --- while sharing a bed sans pajamas --- deduce that both cases are somehow related. Moreover, the objectification of Sarah grows as old as Methuselah (Genesis 5:27).
A brutally shocking dénouement left me breathless and made me long for a lightning rod. Did I read the last few chapters of another novel? The incongruous conclusion to Rob Leininger’s second installment of this otherwise lighthearted series caused me to question if Mortimer Angel has finally matured. Say it isn’t so!
Despite the plot peripeteia, this is a bawdily entertaining series, making Mortimer Angel my favorite go-to gumshoe.
Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy on April 7, 2017