by Stephen Marlowe, © May 1962, Gold Medal 1962 paperback, mystery featuring Chester Drum
the 48th in my review series of “forgotten” books
I picked this up at the L.A. paperback show, Lessercon, a few years back and finally got around to taking it off the shelf to read during a recent trip. I didn’t get much of it read then but finished it up when I got home.
Drum is hired by “the Governor” to find his adult son, who has gone missing in Spain. As the search gets underway, Drum is put off by the lifestyle of American expatriates living on the Costa Del Sol, and wonders if the missing son has simply melted into this live-for-today group. As he digs deeper, however, he uncovers widespread smuggling. It’s used as a form of investment: give some money to an “agent” to invest with a smuggler, get your dividend which is a share of the profits of the shipment.
He also discovers the missing man’s beautiful daughter, who is in love with a local bull fighter, is involved up to her pretty neck and seems to know a lot more than she’s admitting. With few clues to follow, in true hardboiled P.I. fashion Drum has to poke his nose in wherever he can to sniff out motive and try to figure out where the missing man may have gone—and whether he is alive or dead.
This is an entertaining P.I. novel, and the setting, typically of Drum novels set around the world, provides a nice change from big-city grit. Though I suspect this isn’t the best of the series, I like the character of Drum and will seek out a few more of these to read.
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