Private investigator Carnegie Fitch is approached by a life insurance company to look into one of their claimants. They’re refusing to go back to work citing long-term disability but something about the story doesn’t seem to add up given their past behaviour. While working the case, Fitch hears of an old friend who passed away. While attending the funeral, Fitch is hired by a friend of the family to dig into the events that lead to Fitch’s friend’s death as well as his actions up to the day of the accident.
This was a great read. Lester completely nails the feel of 50s. His prose flows with that old time mid-century slang plus the hallmark similes that make up the noir genre are here in spades. I also appreciated the setting. Being Canadian, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of old school noir crime fiction set north of the border. While I’ve never been to Vancouver, I recognized a lot of the street names and locations thanks to a comedy podcast produced on the west coast (not that that has anything to do with anything). So, that was neat.
R. Daniel Lester has created a timeless gumshoe in Carnegie Fitch. He’s your classic rough-and-tumble detective who always seems to know more than he lets on. Thanks to his quick wit and fearless demeanor in the face of trouble, I laughed on more than a few occasions when he took down his aggressors verbally. By the end of the book, he’s a bruised and battered bloodhound.
I had a lot of fun with this book. The mystery was compelling and the story flowed well. Dead Clown Blues is a pulpy romp that had me ready for a sequel right away.