Suspense - Parnell Hall Another delightful entry into the Stanley Hastings series. In this one Hall aims at the publishing industry with agents scamming writers and writers scamming readers. Great fun. He’s pulled from his usual interviewing of prospective lawsuit clients in order to help the wife of an author. She is receiving threatening phone calls. Constant funny references to the publishing industry.

Here is our star ambulance-chasing-wannabe-actor/writer P.I. Hastings talking to his friend in the police department Sergeant MacAuliff about a potential suspect, Linda Toole, author of a mystery novel about cats.

MacAuliff made a face. “Then I hope she did it.”
“They’re the worst, these cat women. They’re the ones give people the ideas cops are stupid jerks couldn’t solve a crime if it weren’t for some fucking cat.”
“I’m sure it’s not as bad as that.”
“Well, it isn’t good. You got a whole generation of people raised on a steady diet of “Murder She Wrote” who think crime isn’t solved by cops. . . the only crimes mystery writers can solve are the ones they write themselves.”

Some delicious ironies as characters talk about what a weak plot the mystery “real life”? mystery is compared to their novelistic attempts. At one point the author whose wife is being threatened flatly states that no suspense novel could ever be written in the first person since the reader knows no harm will come to the narrator. Hall then proceeds to prove the opposite.

There’s a great scene where ADA Frost has the principals together in his office - or at least their lawyers and they spend an hour just deciding on the ground rules. One says, “I'm not even willing to concede that I’m actually here.” He then launches into hypotheticals within hypotheticals.

Hall is a master of the comic mystery/suspense novel. Puns galore. Worth your time.