Five Star, Jul 2003, 25.95, 254 pp.
This anthology consists of a novel (Drum Beat – Dominique) and several short stories all written in the 1960s. All the short stories are well written enhancing the image of Chet Drum as a no nonsense private investigator who cares for his clients.
Drum Beat – Dominique. Government “ghoul” Jack Morley looks like the pits when old friend Chet Drum meets with him in Paris. Jack explains that he no longer is a State Department VIP having fallen from grace following a divorce. He works for the Army Adjutant General determining whether World War II MIAs are dead though two decades have passed. However, his problem is that US Senator Clay Bundy accuses him of blackmail and threatens to have him killed if he fails to back off. Jack wants Chet to inform the senator he is not blackmailing him. Chet tells that to the Senator and persuades him to hire him to learn who is even while someone murders Jack. Great tale that fans of tough intelligent, but concerned sleuths will relish so much they will seek other works by Stephen Marlowe.
This is the reviewer's first taste of Mr. Marlowe (finally reprints besides Dickens in which I was too young to have read the first time around) and can say the author lives up to his surname. Drum sleuths to his own beat; he is a strong private investigator, who hooks the audience in each tale, short or long.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner