A collection of short stories features ex-cop-turned-private eye Nate Heller as he investigates a series of murders in '30s, '40s, and '50s Chicago
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Nate Heller, president and sole employee of Chicago's A-1 Detective Agency (Stolen Away, etc.), takes on six real-life unsolved mysteries in this collection of stories set in the 30's and 40's. As Ed Gorman points out in a brief introduction, pulpmeister Collins freely mixes fact and fiction, with uneven results. The two shortest stories, ``The Strawberry Teardrop'' and ``Scrap,'' are little more than historical reconstructions, though a post-Chicago Eliot Ness enlivens one of them. In ``Private Consultation,'' ``House Calls,'' and (especially) ``Marble Mildred,'' Collins is able to mix true crime, seedy-jokey atmosphere, and hard-boiled detection more successfully; and the title novella, asking whether the Chicago's most notorious serial killer (``stop me before I kill again'') is responsible for the kidnapping and murder of a little girl, is worth the price of admission by itself--a tough, nervously sentimental tale that ranks with Collins's best. A collection most notable for the way it bridges the gap between the straightforward twists of Black Mask and the current slanted ironies of Paretsky and Estleman. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
This grandly titled but drab clutter of crime fiction--an original novella and five previously published short stories--represents some of the last work of (...) Collins (scripter since 1977 of the Dick Tracy comic strip, who often based his fiction on true crimes). Collins's friend Ed Gorman contributes an adulatory foreword in which he reveals that Collins "didn't think he was very good at short stories." Collins was right. His tales are pulpish and his hero, hard-boiled Chicago private eye Nate Heller, is unimpressive, given to blinding flashes of insight, to playing God with the evidence, to taking bribes to supplement an income which in the Depression ran $10 a day plus expenses. The best story here isn't the overwrought title tale, (based on the Susan Degnan kidnap-murder) but "Marble Mildred," in which a frenzied harridan pursues and batters her seemingly exemplary husband, eventually gunning him down. Nate unlocks the secret that has festered for 14 years in this marriage. Nate also appears in the novel Stolen Away , a revisionist approach to the Lindbergh kidnapping, published last spring.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Foul Play Press, 1991. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110881502103
Book Description Foul Play Press, 1991. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Brand New!. Bookseller Inventory # VIB0881502103