This book is the bread and butter of 1970s and 1980s midlist genre fiction. It’s toward the sixth book of an eight book series where the seventh and eighth books come at a gap of seven and thirteen years when the first six were within a span of thirteen years. The series character, Albert Samson, is a throwback of a private invesigator who is a bit of a cipher, a guy running around talking to people and taking notes and figuring things out. It might even have been a throwback in the 1980s, actually, since the likes of Robert Crais and Robert B. Parker were writing more vivid, personality-driven detective thrillers.
At any rate, Al Samson is hired by a rich banking family after the wife discovers, in the course of applying for a passport, that her birth certificate is a fake. They want him to look into it and find out why. Meanwhile, a man in a fancy apartment offers to retain him full time indefinitely in a nebulous assignment. During his investigation, he discovers that the woman was raised by an adopted family, and that the birth mother came into some money, and then that the birth mother was a Depression-era singer with a child out of wedlock who then married a society boy and shot him one night. She was acquited in the trial and then disappeared, so the detective has to find out where she is, if she’s still alive.
So the book features the tangled plot of a well-to-do family and layers of deception in the past. Like I said, a throwback. The kind of thing I thought I’d write.
Not a bad read; short, at the 180 page mark of the old timey genre fiction. I wouldn’t mind reading more of the series in time, but to be honest, I probably won’t remember the author’s name to look for more in the line. When my beautiful wife asked me late last week what I was reading, I couldn’t remember the author’s name or book title; all I could remember is that it’s an old school Indianapolis PI.