forgotten book: Jeopardy is My Job

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.

~  ~  ~  ~

Series organizer Patti Abbott hosts more Friday Forgotten Book reviews
at her own blog, and
posts a complete list of participating blogs.

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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11 Responses to forgotten book: Jeopardy is My Job

  1. Bill Crider says:

    The Drum series is nearly always fun. I’ve read quite a few of the books, but certainly not all of them.

  2. I always liked the covers on the Drum series. The exotic locales separated these books from typical P. I. adventures.

  3. Evan Lewis says:

    This is a real title? I figured it must be a parody of Trouble is My Business.

  4. I have read a couple of the Drums, as well as Double Trouble, the Shell Scott-Drum title. I need to track down more.

  5. Patti Abbott says:

    The rich man’s lost beautiful daughter must be the most common feature in detective stories. Why can’t they keep their daughters in check?

  6. Jeff Meyerson says:

    The one you need to read is definitely Double in Trouble, the collaboration with Richard S. Prather which Drum and Shell Scott narrate in alternating chapters.

    It’s a classic.

  7. Richard says:

    Evan – yes, it’s real. When I get there you can read it.

    Patti – they are too busy making money to pay attention to the children, especially daughters, apparently.

    Jeff and Randy – I have Double Trouble here, and do plan to read it, once the books are unpacked and I find it again.

  8. Richard says:

    Bill – maybe time to read one of those you’ve not gotten to.

    George – yes, they’re fun to read, and the locales set them apart.

  9. BV Lawson says:

    Another new one to me. I checked out Stephen Marlowe just now, wondering if that was a tribute pen name and discovered he died just a couple of years ago (and even lived just down the road in Williamsburg, VA). Have you read any of his fictional autobiographies, such as the one for Edgar Allan Poe?

  10. Todd Mason says:

    Lesser (Lessercon! Excellent!) probably was one of those, perhaps I’ve even read this, who made a nice cross-riff between enjoying travel and amortizing the travel costs with his writing (Robert Silverberg apparently was doing well enough to just enjoy the traveling on its own ticket, and not having to worry about the tax questions, but others found expensing their trips useful, to say the least). He was a very reliable writer, after he found his measure, in my experience, indeed. (The earliest Lesser work, for Ziff-Davis, is, well, lesser.)

  11. Richard says:

    Todd – I was in his house one year, at his before-Lessercon party – and it was an amazing sight, the original artwork, the rooms filled, and I do mean FILLED with paperbacks… Lessercon is just one of the things I’ll miss about being here in SoCal.

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