A delusional private eye stumbles onto a case that will test him to the max.
Harry Dickinson drives a 1936 Packard, collects film noir posters and back issues of Black Mask, and gives his girl Friday, whom he calls Friday, a first edition of The Thin Man as a gift. Friday, whom everyone else calls Linda Chapin, is touched by the gesture. In fact, she’s so touched by everything about Harry that she’s turned down ever hopeful suitor Sonny Plante for him, even though Harry literally doesn’t notice when she shows up at the office wearing nothing but Victoria’s Secret. She’d feel better about their relationship, though, if she didn’t know that Harry suffers from a partial complex seizure disorder that makes him believe he’s an unlicensed private eye. Harry’s old schoolmate Brian Rossiter, now a detective with the Springdale Police Department, humors him. So, more or less, does his sister, Carol LeGrange, though she wishes he’d go back to work selling used cars for her husband, Phil. But when Harry picks up evidence that Marian Turner withdrew $120,000 from her bank account a week after her disappearance, his determination to track her down endangers himself and Friday, and Carol and Phil step up their efforts to get him committed. A 72-hour remand at the Indian Orchard Wellness Center barely slows Harry down. But what effects will the magic pill so highly touted by psychiatrist Harold Bender have on the life Harry’s so carefully constructed for himself?
Black (The Extinction Event, 2010, etc.) supplies a sweetly moving fable for nostalgia buffs and anyone who thinks the movie Harvey (1960) would have been improved if its imaginary rabbit had been a damsel in distress. An epilogue retailing anecdotes from the author’s Hollywood days is quite as entertaining as the main event.