When Mortimer Angel decides to change careers from IRS Agent to Private Investigator he envisions himself a modern day Sam Spade spouting smart repartee, meeting gorgeous girls, seeing plenty of action and solving murders. But, aside from the numerous gorgeous girls he’s met, including one mystery girl who breaks into his house, appropriates his bed and leaves him notes, being a P.I. isn’t what he thought it would be.
He seems to have only one talent. In his first two days on the job he’s been able to find the severed heads of two people who had disappeared, Reno, Nevada’s mayor and district attorney. Unfortunately the third severed head he found happened to belong to his P.I. and new boss nephew, Gregory, who had gone searching for the killer and bodies of the first two heads. In order to salvage a P.I. career on the brink of disintegrating, Angel realizes he has to solve the murders. However, his inexperience is a major drawback, so he hires experienced private detective Jeri DiFrazzia, who is herself gorgeous, to help him.
The tone of Angel and DiFrazzia is reminiscent of Dashiell Hammett’s Nick and Nora Charles of the Thin Man series. Angel’s cavalier but determined attitude is offset by DiFrazzia’s all business demeanor making them a likeable and effective team. Readers will find themselves chuckling at Angel’s wry observations, especially about himself. The gorgeous women who come in and out of his life including his ex-wife Dallas, Jeri and the mystery girl are quite the crew. No dumb blonde in this group.
The somewhat implausible ending (maybe I should say plot) does not diminish the reading enjoyment. I’m not a big fan of the ‘humorous’ mystery–not a Carl Hiaasen fan–but I thoroughly enjoyed Gumshoe. By the way, this is not humorous in the Lisa Lutz (the dysfunctional Spellman family series) or Janet Evanovich (the Stephanie Plum with the old grandmother series).
Should Angel and DiFrazzia morph into a series, mystery readers will be well served.