Tuesday, February 23, 2021

3. You Find Him -I'll Fix Him by James Hadley Chase

James Hadley Chase is a good author to help one get back into reading form.  This one started out solid got quite good, ended up a bit banal with a fun coda that made the mystery worthwhile.  Despite the pat ending, I have to give Chase his credit.  He is able to keep a story moving.  Ed Dawson is a newspaper man heading up the Rome office of an American paper.  He gets a call from the paper's owner asking him to watch over his daughter who is coming to Rome to take architecture classes.  Dawson meets her, finds her plain and basically drops the assignment.  A few weeks later, he runs into her again at a fancy party and this time she is a total babe.  Like any fool in one of these books, he starts to go around with her and then accepts her proposition that they spend a passionate weekend at a remote villa in Sorrento together.  Against his better judgement (basically because he has the total hots for her), he goes.  Of course it goes very badly when he gets there and discovers her body at the foot of a cliff.

This was all kind of straightforward and made even less interesting because the protagonist is not very smart.  He panics and puts himself in a worse situation.  Now I know we wouldn't have a book if he didn't get himself in a jam.  Fortunately, the jam itself gets more interesting for most of the middle of the book, as we learn more about the backstory of the daughter.  It's complex enough to keep you wanting to find out what goes on, though a few of the twists are quite obvious.  The ending, as I mentioned, is almost sappy, quite the opposite of No Orchids for Miss Blandish.  However, there is a further reveal that reinforces the complexity of the backstory.  I apologize for speaking so vague, but I am pretty strict about spoilers.

The work of James Hadley Chase doesn't seem to merit a lot of analysis and maybe he was a bit of a journeyman.  I'll have to read more to know, but so far I have to appreciate his work.

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