The Detective & The Pipe Girl
Review: John Darvelle is a private investigator working in Culver City, California. His office is a warehouse that at one time housed three Porsches. It has a large sliding door that a small truck could fit through that he keeps open while he works to get the benefit of soft breezes and the sun. Besides his own desk he has a couple of chairs for clients, and adjacent to his desk a Ping-Pong table. He loves to play Ping-Pong and will challenge anyone to a game mainly because he usually wins. Oh, and he thinks very highly of himself. So it's so surprise — at least to him — when Arthur Vonz hires him to find someone, in The Detective & the Pipe Girl, the first mystery in this series by Michael Craven.
Arthur Vonz is one of the most successful film directors in the world. And the person he's seeking is Susan Neal. She's not his wife nor his girlfriend nor a prostitute, but simply the most beautiful woman he has ever met. Yes, they had an affair but even after it ended they remained friends, usually keeping in touch by phone. But now Susan's phone has been disconnected and she's dropped out of sight. Vonz wants to make sure she's okay. It isn't difficult for John to find Susan, but before he can make contact with her she is shot and tossed off a balcony. Vonz wants to know what really happened, and hires John to investigate her murder. John learns that she was a "pipe girl", and though has no idea what that is, he quickly finds himself involved with seedy characters in run-down alleys and non-descript bars.
The primary murder mystery storyline in The Detective & the Pipe Girl is really quite thin, and the author apparently knows it as there are plenty of asides taking the reader into John's previous cases, not necessarily into all the details but enough to add color and humor and most importantly help develop the character. Surprisingly, they don't detract from the story but add to it. It's quite entertaining to follow along with the ever confident John Darvelle, mostly because he does seem as good as he thinks he is. It isn't clear how this narrative approach can necessarily be continued over several books, but in the here and now it works making this a promising start to this series.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Detective & The Pipe Girl.
Acknowledgment: Bourbon Street Books provided a copy of The Detective & The Pipe Girl for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Detective & The Pipe Girl: Los Angeles, California
— ♦ —
The Detective & The Pipe Girl by Michael Craven — A John Darvelle Mystery
Publisher: Bourbon Street Books
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: May 2014
List Price: $14.90
— ♦ —
Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
Mysterious Reviews is a Division of
The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books
and a Business Unit of the
Omnimystery Family of Mystery Websites