Sunday, August 2, 2009

#31: Curtains for a Lover by Robert Dietrich

Another pulp adventure from the swingin' sixties, with plenty of hungry women and barking pistols for hero Steve Bentley; though, curiously, it turns out our protagonist is not a private eye or an undercover spy, but a Washington accountant.

Curtains for a Lover is a further curiosity as one of the many paperback outings written under a pseudonym by Watergate conspirator E. Howard Hunt. When I was younger, I read and enjoyed several of his David St. John spy novels without having a clue who he was, only later learning about his strange role in U.S. history.

I did not know this was one of his other writing non-de-plumes when I picked it up in a little used bookstore in Traverse City Michigan on vacation, but some late-night googling brought me back in touch with an old favorite.

Our numbers-cruncher actually appeared in several of "Robert Dietrich's" novels, although the bankbook-balancing generally takes a back seat to boozing and bed-hopping. Here the whole story is set off by a high-maintenance stage actress who thinks someone is forging big checks with her signature. In quick order the bodies are stacking up and the suspect list gets longer.

I found this to be a highly enjoyable read with some good prose passages. I knocked this one out in about a day while on vacation and would be happy if I stumbled across more of Bentley's adventures.

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