First published in 1958, the Chester Drum series, of which this is #6, represents some of the best "" writing of the fifties. Chester Drum runs a D.C. private investigation firm and he arrives at the scene of a college professor's suicide just as the man leaps from his office window, missing the fire net. (A , I know, but apparently such nets, invented in 1887, actually worked although the practical limit was said to be about six stories. There is one firefighter who jumped into a net from the 10th floor and survived without a scratch.) Drum had been hired by the dead man's wife to follow him and discover if he was having an affair. Drum's associate, a newly hired member of the firm, had fallen in love with the dead man's daughter just to complicate matters. All the typical ingredients are on display, the crooked cops, the beautiful call girl, the iconoclastic P.I., etc.
Soon, Chester is in the midst (of course he inserts himself whenever possible) of a conspiracy involving highly placed officials, some crooked cops, and a -- wait for it -- lovely hooker with a --wait for it -- heart of gold.
My sarcasm aside, it's a good story, if a bit archaic, well told and I can see why Marlowe was popular. I hope they bring more of his works back in Kindle form. Not as good as Ross MacDonald, but then, who is?
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