Created by Lise McClendon
It's 1939, and Kansas City is jumping with swing music, fast cars and a bloody turf war between two rival gangs. In her feisty debut, One O'clock Jump, one mobster hires private gumshoe DORIE LENNOX to follow his bargirl sweetie, who promptly takes a header off a bridge (hence the title, a reference to a Count Basie song).
Some good period colour, including a cameo by Basie, and a pleasingly tough P.I. (she wears pants and packs a switchblade), suggest this might be a series to watch. Dorie is, by all accounts, more than a mere period paper doll., and her relationship with partner and mentor, Amos Haddan, a victim of mustard gas that still plagues him over two decades after the first World War, even as the world prepares for the sequel, is an inspired subplot.
And so far, it looks like my faith has been rewarded. A second book in the series, Sweet and Lowdown, has been garnering some pretty impressive raves. It's the fall of 1940, Nazi bombs are destroying London while thousands of miles away, Dorie and Amos are hired to tail the wayward 21-year-old heiress of a prominent local family, but Amos soon becomes preoccupied with a refugee from London and a series of anonymous threats to a Negro League baseball team.
There's tons of of great period detail here, from fashion observations and oh-so-retro product placement, to the ominous background of a world revving up for global conflict. good stuff.
Author McClendon also writes the Alix Thorssen mystery series.
-- Sue Grafton
Includes both novels and the short story.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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