Friday, February 24, 2023

Finished: John D. MacDonald's 'The Brass Cupcake'

 The title of this one had me curious and the author had me enthused. John D. MacDonald has sold an estimated 70 million books, of which I account for six of those with many more to come. The Brass Cupcake, fyi, is an old term for a cop's badge.

There are a lot of older terms in his novels because many were written in the 1950s. I know I harp on it but there are so many great mystery writers from the mid 20th century, that a person doesn't have to stick to James Patterson all the time. Be adventurous. He classifies as "hard-boiled crime" and that's the genre I've been hitting hard.

I'd seen MacDonald's name pop up in several reviews of more contemporary authors: "as good as MacDonald" or "shades of MacDonald." I decided to check out this MacDonald guy and he's fabulous.

The Brass Cupcake, according to Amazon:

Ex-cop Cliff Bartells might be the last honest man in Florence City, Florida. After quitting the force over a crisis of conscience, he takes a job at an insurance company buying back stolen jewelry. Cliff is focused on keeping the bottom line down and staying out of the spotlight.

But when an affluent tourist from Boston is murdered over a hefty collection of jewelry, Cliff finds himself wrapped up in a case that’s making national headlines. With the victim’s beautiful niece, Melody Chance, determined to help retrieve the goods, suddenly Cliff has the partner he never knew he wanted. Now all they need is a suspect: someone capable of cold-blooded murder in the name of profit. And that could mean anyone in this crooked town.

I gave it a 7-plus on the 10-point Haugenometer, while Amazonians a hearty 4.3 of 5.

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