CASEFILE: The Best of the ""Nameless Detective"" Stories by Bill Pronzini

CASEFILE: The Best of the ""Nameless Detective"" Stories

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Ten stories featuring Pronzini's middle-aged San Francisco shamus/narrator--known as the ""Nameless Detective"" and featured in nine full-length outings (Dragonfire, p. 965, most recently). The early stories, from 1968-1972, are short, simple, yet modestly satisfying in the plainest of hard-boiled modes: the Nameless solves the murders of a bum and an ex-con; he reluctantly takes a domestic case, but the straying-husband trail leads to a robbery ring; he exposes a fraud scare on Majorca. Later on, however, the tales get longer and trickier--sometimes an improvement, sometimes not. There are three decent locked-room puzzles: none of them inspired, one far too long, but two of them with nice, breezy backgrounds (a pricey pulp-magazine collection, an antiquarian book store). And an obscene-phone-call mystery, which develops into murder, is much too easy to see through. Still, the Nameless is good company for the most part--not as stylish or funny as other hard-boileds, but not as pretentious as some others--and fans of the novels will find this a solid assemblage of quick-takes, Nameless-style.

Pub Date: Feb. 25th, 1982
Publisher: St. Martin's