RARA-AVIS: Dig That Crazy Grave/Prather

From: James Reasoner ( james53@flash.net)
Date: 15 Feb 2001

I'm always a little worried when I go back and reread a favorite author I haven't read in a long time. Prather didn't let me down, though. This isn't one of the best Shell Scott novels, but it's well-written and funny and reads very fast. A lot of plot, too, for a 144-page book, and tightly constructed. Prather is supposed to have written detailed outlines for his books, and I can believe it. The story starts out as a missing persons case, with Shell searching for the vanished brother of a beautiful (of course) blonde. Along the way he's framed for murder and winds up being arrested. The ending of this book is the only thing that's not very satisfying about it, and that makes it a minor effort as far as I'm concerned. But still well worth reading.

One thing about the Shell Scott books that's a little unusual for PI books from the Fifties and Sixties -- Shell gets along really well with the LA police, and they usually wind up doing some of his work for him. Homicide Captain Phil Samson is Will Gentry to Shell's Mike Shayne, but there's no Peter Painter, no police nemesis for Shell. At least not that I remember.

Best, James

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 15 Feb 2001 EST