Thursday, January 22, 2015
Dearborn V. Pinch likes solving mysteries, even though he is rather elderly. His son and the police would rather he didn't involve himself but when he comes across a body in the bushes of course he has to look into it.
Pinch has had previous dealings with mysteries, so when a friend of the dead person asks him to look into the death, Pinch is not surprised. And when the man offers to pay him, Pinch is quite pleased. He could really use the money to help out a lady friend. (Pinch also really likes the ladies and is a sucker for a sad story.)
So off he goes from NYC to a resort in Florida, trailed by his basketball-star son, Ben, and a NYC policeman. Ben is worried about his father getting into trouble and the policeman is conducting the investigation into the murder.
The dead man, identified by the man who hired Pinch as Louis Martin, used to live near the resort and was involved with the wife of the man who owns and runs the resort, Leo Beggs. Leo is married to Maggie, a marriage of convenience. Leo wanted a beautiful young wife and Maggie wanted to be married to a rich man. They do not love one another and their marriage has suffered for it. Neither of them are happy with it any more.
Louis Martin was not Maggie's first lover or even her last lover, though she claims he was her true love. Leo Beggs has tolerated Maggie's string of boy friends but now Maggie claims to want her freedom so she can be with Martin. But Martin is dead and it appears that Beggs was the one who killed him. Beggs was in NYC at the time and owns the same type of gun as the one used to shoot the dead man. Informed that he will soon be arrested for Martin's murder, Beggs commits suicide.
Pinch was sure Beggs was the killer, but circumstances surrounding Beggs' own death seem to point to a plot to cast blame on Beggs and make his subsequent death appear a suicide when it was actually murder. But who is the killer? Maggie is, of course, prime suspect as she will inherit the majority of Beggs' fortune. But she has a solid alibi. So she must have had an accomplice. But who? The list of possible candidates grows and grows and Pinch gets deeper into his investigation, getting a few bumps and bruises in the process and ending up kidnapped by a loco Cuban who wants to free Cuba from the communists.
I enjoyed reading about Pinch and his unlikely investigations. He uses a fake name while in Florida but constantly forgets that and makes many obvious gaffes, which was amusing. And the mystery was intriguing with the killer being someone who was central to the story but whose identity is not revealed until the end (unless the reader remembers the clue given at the beginning of the story). This was an enjoyable read, though pretty typical of the mystery genre.