Nice Weekend For A Murder - Max Allan Collins This was my first Mallory series book by Max Allan Collins. Mallory (we never learn any other name for him much like Parker and Nolan) is a crime writer invited to one of those murder weekends where they enact a fake murder, create suspects, and then have teams present rationale for who they think might have committed the murder. It's no surprise that there's a real murder that requires Mallory to discover the real murderer. The victim is a universally hated critic, Kirk Rath, who feels it's his job to lift murder mysteries from the muck of triviality and provide them a place in the pantheon of literary fiction. He ridicules and belittles everyone along the way so he had plenty of enemies, many of whom were at the event.

It's not a unique plot. Others have done it better, but it was written several decades ago so I'll give him pass on that.

This is an early Collins and it shows. The resolution, while explained, is little developed and I failed to get a "feel" for the surroundings. The atmosphere was a little forced. Nevertheless, it held my interest and I'll read more in the series.

There is foreshadowing of some of the sardonic writing that has become de rigueur in P.I. novels. I rather like it.

Of course, just on general principles, I hate the Great Out-of-Doors. I grew up on a farm, and from my early childhood swore I would one day live in the city—Port City, as it turned out, but that counts, technically at least. Will Rogers said he never met a man he didn’t like; I never milked a cow I liked. The last period of my life during which I spent an inordinate amount of time in the Great Out-of-Doors was a place called Vietnam, where roughing it meant something other than a Winnebago and a six-pack of Bud. Camping trips don’t appeal much to those of us whose boondockers got soggy in a rice paddy. I swore to myself if I ever got back on good old dry American soil I’d spend as much time as possible indoors. Or, as I like to put it, the Great Indoors."

I sympathize. My idea of camping these days is Super 8.