A fourth round of wisecracks, fisticuffs, come-ons, and the occasional homicide for Reno private eye Mort—only his mother called him Mortimer, and that was a mistake—Angel.
Clary Investigations, owned and operated by tough cookie Maude "Ma" Clary, has two cases on its current docket. Karen Galbraith wants the agency to find her runaway daughter, Megan, and CPA Evelyn Joss wants to know what Michael Volker, her junior partner, did with the $13,600 he withdrew from the company’s account. Ma and Lucy Landry, the ex-waitress who caught Mort’s eye and more in his last outing (Gumshoe on the Loose, 2018, etc.), find Megan Galbraith in record time. But the other case is trickier even though Volker hasn’t taken the trouble to run away; he just stammers and orders Mort out of his house when he’s asked about the missing funds. Evelyn Joss isn’t inclined to press too hard, but once Volker knows she’s onto him, she knows it won’t be long before the cops get involved and raise the stakes. That’s a pity, because Mort has already been dumped into what looks at first like a nonpaying case when he finds the skull of Ronald Soranden, the vanished head of the Northern Nevada IRS, in Lucy’s convertible. Fear not: Since Mort already has a nationwide reputation as a discoverer of high-profile corpses, it’s not long before IRS Commissioner William V. Munson dangles a fat consultancy fee before him if he can identify Soranden’s killer. Stopping by to pick up Lucy in Munson’s martini-fueled government jet (a nice touch for all concerned), Mort goes on the hunt, looking not so much to finger the perp, who turns out to be pretty unsurprising, but to find out why Soranden was worth killing, a question that turns out to be well worth asking.
Fans of Travis McGee hungry for red-meat private-eye adventure will tune out the mystery and focus on the hero’s effortlessly self-confident sex appeal, superhuman physical strength, and nice way with dialogue.