CITY OF BEADS by Tony Dunbar


Email this review


The role of righteous avenger doesn't really suit comfy New Orleans lawyer Tubby Dubonnet, but it looks like he's stuck with it when he ends up in the middle of three dogood cases. First, his client Potter Aucoin is beaten to death and marinated in the peanut-oil-filled hold of his barge, and his widow wants the perps. Then, Tania Thompson, the matter-of-fact bank manager who's already shot and killed Charlie Van Dyne, the mid-tier dealer who she thinks had her drug-peddling brother murdered, runs into Tubby while she's running away from Van Dyne's buddies. (Eventually Tania, on furlough from Tubby, runs to her Baptist pastor, who can forgive the shooting more easily than her taking up with a white man.) Finally, he lets his daughter Debbie drag him into a pro bono lawsuit against a passel of heavy-duty river polluters, who naturally end up at the bottom of the rest of his cases too. If it weren't for Tubby's free-and-easy relations with his newest client, a casino that supplies him with an obliging young escort and gently force-feeds him blackjack winnings, you'd worry that the man was going straight. Not as gorgeously amoral as Tubby's debut (Crooked Man, 1995), then, but more solidly put together. Dunbar's understated, syncopated delivery makes you wonder if there are enough honest men in New Orleans for a rubber of bridge.

Pub Date: Jan. 10th, 1996
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Putnam