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Too Soon Dead
An Alexander Brass Mystery - Book I
Michael Kurland

Titan Books
17 November 2015 / ISBN 9781783295364

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde


New York 1935 and young cub reporter Morgan DeWitt works for the New York World's top writer the urbane Alexander Brass. When a mysterious fat man demands to see his boss one day and shows them an envelope full of pornographic photos, the pair think they are going to get a juicy story. What they actually get is a murder; or rather more than one as the people in the pictures are all too important to be compromised…

I wasn't around during the 1930s but based on my own reading and viewing I would say that Kurland has it down pretty accurately. In his introduction he describes the type of period fiction he enjoyed reading and brings this enthusiasm to his writing. This is the 30s of all those wonderful old films where the Depression has people down but not out, a world of gumshoes and dames, nightclubs and Broadway shows. One war is not far behind and another lurks ahead, German immigrants fleeing the Nazis and distrusting the police form part of the plot. The story is narrated by DeWitt, a wide-eyed country boy enjoying the big city and thrilled to be working for such an impressive man. There is a distinct Holmes and Watson feel about this, although only in this respect. For me the plot itself is entertaining enough as the pair race around trying to stop the killer but I thought the best part of it all was the writer's evocation of a decade. I eagerly await the next in the series.

2nd in series: The Girls In the High-Heeled Shoes

Reviewed 2016