Poor old Cotton Hawes. It seems that he can’t interview a woman about a case without falling in love. He even gets things going with the widow of Sy Kramer, a blackmailer who has been gunned down roaring twenties style in the middle of the city. When Hawes turns up and is mistaken for the plumber, gets himself soaked while fixing the shower and has to remove his shirt to dry off, we find ourselves in a classic scene. There’s humour, a flavour of noir, character development by the bucket-load and all the while there’s forward movement for the plot. In other words, it’s typical McBain. And highly entertaining fiction.
The case of Sy Kramer is an interesting one. They guy has landed some big cheques over a year and he’s spent extravagantly and with taste. In the course of the investigation, we discover there are three main sources of income. He’s been blackmailing the owner of a lemonade factory who had a rodent problem, the wife of a politician with a history as a model and a third from an unknown source which was the most lucrative of the bunch.
In Killer’s Payoff (US) Carella and Hawes take centre stage, the latter being keen to make amends for his blunder when he arrived at the 87th. It’s an case that will take him into the mountains to follow up Sy’s hunting habit and into the up-and-coming areas of the city that are being overwhelmed by property development. Best of all are the steps taken into the world of cheesecake – it’s a euphemism that was new to me and if you don’t, you’ll just have to read it to find out.
Another great book that just makes me keen to read the next in the series.