Monday, June 25, 2012

The Brass Rainbow

Michael Collins
The Brass Rainbow

Open Road Media/Mysterious Press, 2012 (digital)
(Originally published in 1969, by Dodd Mead)

Sammy Weiss, a small-time gambler and a loser, asks private detective Dan Fortune for help: the detective has to make a false alibi for Weiss, who in turn promises to pay. Fortune turns down the offer, but decides to check the story told by a fat gambler. The case takes a serious turn when a man whom Weiss’ve had a skirmish with because of the card debt is found murdered. A wealthy businessman is murdered, a suitcase with 25 thousand dollars in cash is lost from the apartment, and Weiss has gone in running. Fortune, though he does not like Weiss, suspects that the gambler is innocent and was framed. Detective's suspicions grow when he learns that the affair is mixed in a rich family, mobsters, the owner of a casino, professional "girlfriends of the rich men." Fortune will try to get to the truth, and the police will suspect that the private detective is harboring a fugitive.

Dan Fortune is a one-armed private investigator, and this is the second book in the series about his adventures. Fortune lost his arm not at war, but when he was a petty thief. The details are unknown. With only one hand, the detective is limited in his possibilities, so do not expect that he would beat someone to a pulp and shoot with both hands. But this does not mean that to Fortune will solve the case without leaving your office. Private eye will have to run, and fast, he will be shooting and chase suspects, but there will be logical interpretation of the information, too.

Fortune is not a joker, like Marlowe, he is not such a loner, either (here he will get help fro the police captain and morgue’s night watcher). He has a keen sense of social inequality, but he understands that it is impossible to deal with the rich. Fortune hekps Weiss with no money, just because they are on the same level of society - the poor, barely able to scrape a living (which does not interfere with Fortune’s words noted that prison cries for such men as Weiss, even for less crime than murder).

Collins writes firmly and without sentiment. The author gave his character a unique voice: Fortune is not Superman, not melancholy wise guy, just a lonely man in a big city.

It is impossible to guess the killers (and a few corpses there will be here), and the number of surprises and twists here is such that 90 percent of today mystery novels will seem primitive one-dimensional books.

«The Brass Rainbow» is not a rainbow novel, but like a rainbow after a long rain – such a joy.

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