Created by Stanley Ellin
Rich, classy man-about-town MURRAY KIRK is a former hotshot young lawyer who takes over as the head of New York's very respectable Conmy and Kirk Detective Agency in Stanley Ellin's Edgar-winning The Eighth Circle (1958).
There's no low rent office with a bottle in the drawer for this baby. Nope. Murray's one cold, ruthlessly efficient detective -- all business all the time.
But it turns out he does have a weak spot -- he's got it bad for a client's lady fair, and instead of working to prove his client's innocence in a court case, Murray's out to nail him.
What makes it even more intriguing is that his client is a cop under indictment for perjury.
Short story ace Ellin studied several agencies before writing the novel, so The Eighth Circle is a far more authentic look at real P.I. work than most PI novels. In its way, it anticipates the "private-eye procedural" type of story that Joe Gores would make his stock-in-trade a decade or so later. It's also one of the few P.I. stories to win the MWA Edgar in the top category, Best Mystery Novel. Gary Warren Niebuhr also considers it one of the 21 Classics in his A Reader's Guide To Private Eye Novels.
Ellin went on to write three more PI novels, 1969's The Bind (which became The notoriously awful movie Sunburn), featuring Jake Dekker, and two novels featuring his only series character John Milano, Star Light, Star Bright and The Dark Fantastic.
-- Art Bourgeau, The Mystery Lover's Companion
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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