PORTRAIT IN SMOKE by Bill S. Hallinger


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A provocative probe by a small time Chicago collection agent, Dan April, makes for a good novel of suspense, rather than straight mystery, as were this author's two previous books (The Body in the Red and The Body Beautiful). For April is haunted and hounded by Krassy Al beauty, devotes his time to tracing her after her disappearance when she has won a minor beauty contest. From modeling to business school, to her job in an advertising agency, her secretaryship to the President, her war-time marriage and her second marriage to an elderly, wealthy tycoon, April digs up every fact -- except the real ones which are supplied by Krassy's parallel story -- of unadulterated, premeditated bitchiness. April's careful plans to meet and know her are successful just as Krassy's loathing of her new husband come to a climax -- and April finds himself in a tight-fitting frame when she accuses him of the murder of her husband. April's planning has been so perfect that he is able to step back into his real identity with no danger of apprehension. Precision dovetailing commands this in spite of its hopped-up plot.

Pub Date: Aug. 2nd, 1950
Publisher: Harper