Created by Edward Cline
Add New York P. I. CHESS HANRAHAN to that very small list of wealthy PI's. The portfolio of stocks he had inherited from his father has left him "not quite a millionaire" but not poor, either. So it allows him to pick and choose his cases.
But he's no dilettante dick -- he's put in the time, originally working as a homicde detective in New York before quitting to become the chief of police of a small New England university town after a disagreement with the D.A.. Then a professor of philosophy was murdered, and in the course of his investigation, Chess came to some important realizations about his own life. So he packed it on up and moved back to the Big Apple, where he set up shop as a private investigator, taking on only those cases that interest him and spending the rest of his time reading.
As he says, "All that reading was telling me what was good about the world, what was bad, and why it could be better but wasn't."
But that's all backstory. In First Prize, Hanrahan is hired by the Granville Foundation to find Gregory Compton, a struggling novelist who has hasn't claimed the $25,000 literary prize he's just been awarded. It's all an excuse for Cline, an Ayn Rand biographer and author of the popular Sparrowhawk historical series, to take some pot shots at modern manners, the media, the "welfare state," publishing, foundations, universities and the like.
An intriguing if slightly stuffy debut, but unfortunately Cline never followed up...
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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