Monday, May 26, 2008

Strip For Murder - Max Allan Collins


Strip For Murder
Max Allan Collins
Illustrations by Terry Beatty
Berkley Prime Crime

Mystery/Noir

In Manhattan in 1953, two comics are archrivals. One is called “Tall Paul,” drawn by Hal Rapp; the other is “Mug O’Malley,” drawn by Sam Fizer. The artists, published by the same paper, consider themselves to be in direct competition; and neither one is taking it well. But the war is mostly a cold one until “Tall Paul” is scheduled to become a Broadway musical. Fizer is livid. To make matters worse, Misty Winters is going to have a role in the play. Misty is Fizer’s wife.

While everyone concerned knows this won’t end well, no one expects it to end in death. Fizer’s death, in a scene that is obviously staged, and meant to look like a suicide. And all the evidence points to Rapp. Jack Starr, VP and general troubleshooter for his late father’s comic syndicating empire, doesn’t believe it for a moment. Neither does his stepmother, Maggie Starr. The two have already gained some fame as amateur sleuths (A KILLING IN COMICS) and they’re more than ready and able to jump into the murky waters surrounding Fizer’s death.

Any time a Max Allan Collins book comes out, readers everywhere should rejoice. He truly excels at setting the time and place, writing this series in a comic/noir voice that fits the subjects perfectly. The Broadway production of “Tall Paul” is a riff on the production of “Lil’ Abner.” Do not miss the author’s note, here called A Tip Of The Fedora, for a wealth of information. Each chapter begins with a comic illustration done in the style of the time. These panels go the extra mile to set the mood.

Rating: 8
May 2008
ISBN# 978-0-425-22139-6 (trade paperback)

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