Monday, September 28, 2009

#39: The Laughter Trap by Judson Philips

Hard-nosed journalist Peter Styles is snowed in at a ski lodge along with a cold-blooded killer and plenty of suspects in Judson Philips' The Laughter Trap, the first in the Styles series from prolific writer Philips.

Philips offers an agreeable enough thriller, plotted a bit like an Agatha Christie whodunit with a few hard edges in a Ross Macdonald vein. One curious element is that the novel is narrated by another character observing Styles' investigation, and had I not known that Styles returns in a series of other novels I would have suspected--with his obsessive tendencies and violent outbursts--that he was the killer himself. The novel is also a bit different in that although it was written in the swingin' 60s, unlike some authors of that time period Styles definitely puts himself in the Silent Majority and looks askance at some of the beatniks and hippies around him.

I ended up with two Peter Styles novels in a big chunk of pulp I landed from ebay, and though I am not driven to read the other one I am sure will turn to it one day.

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