Sunday, 28 October 2012

The Con Man

The year turns and another 87th Precinct book breezes through. It's April in Isola. The cruellest month? Cruel enough anyway as the con is well and truly on. McBain relishes in his chosen theme. The con and the conmen themselves get a thorough going over by McBain's philosophically edged examination. The detectives of the 87th are trying to reel in a couple of tricksters who are working their way through the confidence trick handbook, fleecing the rich and poor for a fortune or a dime. Arthur Brown and newly promoted Bert Kling are hitting the streets trying to luck out for a lead on the pair. But it's Steve Carella who discovers a far more sinister and deadly conman at work. The river deals him a woman, dead for some time, a tattoo of a heart encircling the word MAC almost hidden on the flesh of her hand and a mysteriously emptied bank account. As ever the characters are great and becoming more familiar by the book. With the investigations waiting for that one killer lead, McBain revels in dangling them in front of the wrong eyes at the wrong time. Some of it gets dangled by our eyes too through print outs of missing persons reports, Criminal identity cards and, somewhat indecipherably, dental records. Carella is recently back from his honeymoon with new wife Teddy who is deaf-mute. This one works up to a particularly suspenseful finale with Teddy aiding in the investigation.

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