Saturday, January 12, 2008

Murder in Gotham - Isidore Haiblum

Murder in Gotham
A Weiss & Weiss Mystery
Isidore Haiblum
Berkley Prime Crime


Morris Weiss is a well-known private detective in his part of the city. He’s Jewish and speaks Yiddish, which makes him much more trustworthy than the mostly-Irish police force. He knows the people and he knows the customs. So, when Jake Lefkowitz disappears, his friends call Morris instead of the police. As a matter of fact, Jake’s wife, May, didn’t call anyone for nearly two weeks after the disappearance.

It doesn’t take Weiss long to find out that Jake was a gambler, and in debt. He visits a bookie operation fronted by a candy store (the better to disguise the purpose of the boys employed as runners) and a gambling club located over a bakery. One of the men to whom Jake owed money, Bernie Loft, is also missing. Quite a coincidence. And, it turns out that Jake might have more than one reason for running; that reason being blonde and leggy. A visit to Loft’s apartment turns up Loft’s dead body. Things just got a lot more serious.

MURDER IN GOTHAM is a wonderful throwback to the hardboiled, noir detective stories of the 1930s. Told in spare prose, it perfectly evokes the age of fedoras and tough guys. Weiss’ command of Yiddish opens doors for him, and his prior successes make him a sort of local celebrity. His observations on his work are detailed at the start of each chapter through excerpts from his “casebook” and should not be overlooked. This one will please fans of the genre and gain new converts.

Rating: 7 1/2
January 2008
ISBN# 978-0-425-21907-2 (paperback)


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