|Image via Wikipedia|
|"...I laid out the Pro Musica sheets like a|
solitaire game. Martin's paper people. The
French name for solitaire--later purloined
by the Brits--is patience. Which, like I've
said, I'm pretty good at when the game is
just getting started. When people start
dying and a case starts flying off every
which way, I start to get ants..."
An A. J. Carlin Mystery
By Jack Wassermann
This book has a very special character and I think it is important to spotlight that upfront--the main character, A. J. Carlin, is a private investigator, but she's also confined to a wheelchair. This was the first time I've ever learned about the life of an individual who must accommodate to the loss of mobility. By that I mean that A.J. becomes so real to readers that you will feel like your know her by the time you finished the novel. One issue that stood out for me was that Ayjay was forced to "squirm and knead" her thighs and calves to keep them in shape--and when she didn't do this routinely, perhaps distracted on the job, it could be dangerous in some of the situations she found herself in. Because she certainly did meet and face danger--with guts and a "smartass" attitude, which forces you to enjoy her flippant and humorous interactions. She quickly won this reader's admiration and respect! Nothing was going to get this woman down!
Eddie Dahlgren had asked her to track down his niece, Tanya Styles. He explained that though she was 32, she had recently inherited quite a bit of money and the family was concerned that she had been led into, perhaps, a romantic situation because of it. The last time they knew where she was, she had been playing with a group, Pro Musica Appassionato, which was composed of nine Floriana friars who she finally found to be located in a nearby town, playing at the Festival of Leaves.. Interestingly, Dahlgren had hit on Ayjay and while she was attracted as well, she became suspicious that he did it at this first meeting... Later, she tried finding further information on him and couldn't locate where he lived or worked--why had he hired a "Manhattan dick"? Her client became part of her investigation!
At the same time, one of her associates and friends, Martin contacted her, asking her to become a co-executor. He explained that he had just learned that his mother had died years earlier and that he had apparently been left millions! He also asked her to marry him... And she had joked with him about it... Now he was dead...
When she had started investigating Martin's inheritance, she immediately discovered that the accounts had never gone inactive, that money had been transferred on a continuous basis, perhaps on specific instructions, but also possibly by forgery...
Wassermann did a wonderful job in creating Adjay's investigation into these two cases, albeit most activities were routine--it was the characters involved that enlivened the quite enjoyable story line. However, the amazing twist at the end of that investigation was totally unexpected and could never be anticipated...yet it all made complete sense; and, in many ways, that twist "made" the book much more than just a routine whodunit P.I. investigation that we all love to pursue...
No matter that the mystery was a fascinating blend of the present, near past and history, for me, it was Ayjay that drove the novel. Here's one reader that hopes to read more A. J. Carlin mysteries in the future! Cool story and characters requiring a great recommendation!
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