Thursday, July 30, 2009

#30: The Murderer Vine by Shepard Rifkin

Slightly shady private eye is convinced to avenge the murder of several civil-rights workers in the deep South in Shepard Rifkin's sobering noir The Murderer Vine.

A long shadow is cast over the first few pages, leading relentlessly to a stark closing chapter that turns detective fiction on its cauliflower ear. Rifkin's private eye, fresh from the big city with his secretary in tow, finds the rural South and its supposed bumpkins a little harder to fathom than he thought. A lot of interesting political and social thought lifts the storytelling.

Rifkin has offered a fine, downbeat work, originally written in the 1970s and reprinted for the excellent Hard Case Crime line, a mix of pulp paperbacks featuring lost noirs and contemporary crime. This would probably be one of my favorites in the entire series, and I haven't missed many.

I read this one on my lovely Kindle and was one of the first three books I bought for this device. Recommended.

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