Thursday, December 2, 2021

One O'Clock Hustle (Inspector Rebecca Mayfield Mystery #1), by Joanne Pence

Quail Hill Publishing, June 2019 (original publication March 2014)

Inspector Rebecca Mayfield, a homicide detective with the San Francisco Police Department, is a strictly by-the-book cop. Outside of work, she lives quietly in a small, not quite legal in-law apartment, with her dog, Spike, who is a hairless Chinese Crested-Chihuahua mix.

And then one fine Saturday night, she gets called to Big Caesar's, a popular, fancy club where there has just been a shooting. There's one dead woman, and one suspect, caught standing over the body with the gun in his hand. He has a crazy story about being innocent, and seeing the actual killer leave via the window.

This suspect is Richie Amalfi, a charming, handsome businessman whose business and actual source of income isn't entirely clear. Richie, though, is "practically family" at Mayfield's home police station, with his niece engaged to marry another Inspector there. And however skeptical Mayfield and others are about his source of income, he has absolutely no record of violence. Yet, he's been caught red-handed, right?

Mayfield questions the witnesses, while her partner takes Amalfi in for booking. Or, rather, he tries to. Amalfi quickly gives him the slip. Mayfield finds this out when she finally gets home--and finds Richie Amalfi waiting for her, and getting an unusually warm welcome from Spike, who usually is cool and standoffish with strangers (a typical Chinese Crested trait, by the way.)

Richie Amalfi wants her help proving he's innocent. Somehow, he convinces her, not exactly that it's a good idea, but to go along with it, nevertheless. Just for a day. Really.

Soon they're chasing all over San Francisco, looking for the missing bookkeeper, or rather, as it turns out, the bookie, who works at Big Caesar's, his mistress, his wife, a friend of the dead woman, and a newspaper reporter whose career isn't going anywhere, and who, it turns out, had agreed to ghostwrite a book for Danny the bookie, whose clients would not be happy to find out about Danny's book.

The local criminal gangs get interested, too. It's soon not at all clear that either Richie or Rebecca will survive.

However! I can assure you that, as in all well-organized novels, the dog does survive, without a scratch.

It's an enjoyable mystery, if a little bit stereotypical in parts.

I bought this book.

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