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City of Beads: Tubby Dubonnet Series #2 (A Hard-Boiled but Humorous New Orleans Mystery) (The Tubby Dubonnet Series) [Kindle Edition]

Tony Dunbar
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (283 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The SECOND deliciously sneaky mystery in Anthony- and Edgar-nominated Tony Dunbar's Tubby Dubonnet series.

Tony Dunbar is the rare author able to make you laugh and shake in your shoes at the same time.

New Orleans lawyer Tubby Dubonnet is bored. He wants to bill enough hours to pay his alimony and keep his daughter in college, with enough left over for an occasional drink and a good meal, but he longs for something different and exciting.

Sure, researching licensing law for the new casino will keep trout meunière on the table, but what could be more tedious? (Unless, of course, the client turns out to be connected.) Meanwhile, there’s the estate of an old friend who controls some dock leases on the wharf. And he agrees to help his daughter’s environmental group stop illegal dumping in the river.

Ho-hum, thinks our hero. But suddenly all three cases begin to converge in an entirely ominous way–the toxic dumping, the dock leases, and the too-good-to-be-true casino job. How is that possible? Could it be Tubby’s been set up as the fall guy in a Mob effort to expand its gambling empire?

Suddenly Tubby IS doing something different and exciting — he’s running for his life!

Not far from Mike’s, on a little side street, the Thompsons were having a family barbecue. They had the TV on the front porch tuned in to the Saints game. The home team was playing arch rival Atlanta, which always got the fans keyed up to an emotional high. Thomas and Kip Thompson were outside watching the game and keeping a grill lit in the tiny front yard, which was separated from the sidewalk by a low iron picket fence. The day was special because they were celebrating Thomas’s recruitment to play baseball for the University of Southwestern Louisiana. The recruiter had promised he was going to be offered a scholarship.

They had smoked sausage and hamburgers fired up on the grill and an ice chest full of Old Milwaukee beer and Cokes. Their aunt was inside making her gumbo, soupy green and full of chicken, sausage, garlic, okra, and onions. It smelled so rich and fine that the old men in the neighborhood were starting to pass by to say hello. Their sister Tania, whose house this was, had a half-gallon bottle of Canadian Club and some ice in the living room for anybody who dropped in.

“Hurry up, Auntie,” Kip called. “We’re dying of hunger.”

“Don’t rush me,” came a deep voice from inside. “It takes a long time to make things just right.”

“You better get you one of these before they’re all gone.” Kip waved his beer can at his younger brother.

“Naw, you can do all the drinking for me,” Thomas said. He was in training and so high on the possibilities stretching out before him that Kip, his beer, and even Kip’s shiny Cadillac taxi parked by the curb held no temptations at all.

Kip drove a cab for a living. That was his story, and that’s what Thomas believed.

It was halftime. All the guests were inside sampling the gumbo and mixing drinks from the big bottle. Tania poured some potato chips into a plastic bowl to carry outside to her brothers.

A nothing-special sky-blue car, maybe an old Ford Galaxie, drove slowly past the house. Kip looked toward it, then jerked around to look at his brother.

“Thomas!” he yelled.

Anything else he planned to say got lost in the noise of an automatic pistol firing. Errant lead pellets broke the front windows of the house and sent the old men and women jumping for the floor, splashing gumbo and sweet cocktails over the walls and each other. But several found their target and perforated Kip’s chest and face, knocking him backward onto the porch and into his sister’s arms. She threw the potato chips into the front yard and fell on top of him. Thomas took a bullet in the knee.

The nothing-special car didn’t even speed up. It just made the corner and rolled on.

First there were the wails of the women, then the sirens came.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Tubby Dubonnet, the New Orleans lawyer who made his debut in Crooked Man, is divorced, fond of his city and of good food and always on the lookout for a new romance. What he finds instead is loads of trouble. First his friend, peanut-oil shipper Potter Aucoin, is found floating in his own oil; then Aucoin's foreman is shot in Tubby's building after a visit. Meanwhile, Tubby's collegiate daughter wants his help on behalf of an environmental group that's investigating local companies polluting the Mississippi, and pretty and seemingly docile Tania Thompson shoots a drug dealer she believes killed her brother and winds up running for her life to a bar Tubby is thinking of buying. Then there's the man who runs a local gambling casino who seems to be offering Tubby a sinecure-with his pretty assistant thrown in as a sweetener. Dunbar weaves together the many strands of his highly entertaining tale with much skill and wit, as well as some relaxed local color. The only problem is that Tubby, likable as he is, doesn't seem smart enough to have figured it all out so well. Dunbar is, however, and that's what counts.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Tubby Dubonnet is a New Orleans lawyer without a lot of ambition or illusion. He wants to bill enough hours to pay his alimony and keep his daughter in college, with enough left over for an occasional drink and a good meal. When he's offered a job researching the licensing requirements of the city's new gambling casino, he doesn't care if he's working for the Mob. Meanwhile, he becomes involved in executing the estate of an old friend who controls some dock leases on the wharf, and he agrees to help his daughter's environmental group stop illegal dumping into the river. As one might expect, the three cases begin to converge: the toxic dumping, the dock leases, and the too-good-to-be-true casino job lead Tubby to the conclusion that he's been set up to be the fall guy in an effort by the casino to expand its operations. The endearing Tubby is street smart, but he's no tough guy and is sometimes betrayed by his desire to see the best in people. He makes a charming guide to a side of New Orleans few see. Wes Lukowsky

Product Details

  • File Size: 390 KB
  • Print Length: 228 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0399140816
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: booksBnimble (December 4, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007Z5HC7W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,536 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars City of Beads May 10, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
As a frequent visitor to the Crescent City, I've always been fascinated by the daily Times-Picayune lurid accounts of murder-and-mayhem and official corruption. Tony Dunbar's City of Beads (The Tubby Dubonnet Series) breathes life into those news stories. The book plunges us into the underbelly of New Orleans that we know is there, but are afraid to experience first-hand. Dunbar's characters are familiar and jump off the page into our consciousness. Tubby Dubonnet, the flawed attorney, has to do right by his clients, while still upholding the law. Sometimes he crosses the line. City of Beads is a fun, fast read, and left me wanting more. I immediately sought out used bookstores to find other of Dunbar's novels. I'm delighted that the Tubby Dubonnet series is becoming available on Kindle.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tubby picks up trouble like so much lint May 28, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
New Orleans lawyer Tubby Dubonnet knows the secret of the good life: eat, drink and mind your own business. That's the plan but he picks up trouble like so much lint. When one of his old friends, Potter Aucoin, is murdered and his body dumped into a barge filled with peanut oil, Tubby looks into the murder at the widow's request. In his spare time he deals with the usual clutch of hapless miscreants, and considers buying a bar as a favor to the owner.

Worse, he offers refuge to Tania, a woman who commits a revenge killing and runs into Toby, literally, at the bar he's committed to buy. She refuses to say why she fled half-naked into the bar but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out someone was chasing her. Tubby gallantly gives her a ride back to his place since she is afraid to return to her own house. No hanky panky, although it does cross Toby's mind. His sex life exists only in his dreams, thank goodness. His dreams are steamy enough. One can only imagine ...

Harboring Tania is bad enough but Tubby is unexpectedly caught between two major clients. He's hired by a casino and showered with money and perks. What the casino owners really want is a piece of riverfront property to anchor a riverboat casino.

The ideally located property is a disposal site with a lurid past and an object of interest for two other groups: an informal organization of crawfish farmers unhappy because the disposal is poisoning their crop, and some student activists trying to clean up businesses polluting the Mississippi River. They, too, are looking at Tubby to champion their cause.

Jumping into the fray is Sheriff Mule, who weighs 120 pounds and controls more inmates than the warden of the state prison in Angola. Seems Tania killed one of his lieutenants.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read Hungry May 9, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Tony Dunbar's droll detective series featuring the laconic lawyer Tubby Dubonnet is certainly one of the better evocations of the Crescent City produced in the past thirty years. Tubby devours not only po'boys and numerous other New Orleans delicacies, but he also embodies a benign gumshoe ethic that makes a book like this such fun to read. A tad weak on plot, thankfully, the book puts you in the company of a worldly, energetic gourmand who treats the slings and arrows of the case he's involved with as so many distractions from the real business of living. Dunbar, as a writer, comes across as the epitome of an appreciator, an observer who marvels at the humanity in front of him without genuflecting. New Orleans has taken some big hits in the past decade, but in Tony Dunbar's wonderful Tubby Dubonnet series disasters have met their match. Spend an evening or two with Tubby and you'll be delightfully transformed.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The intrigue never stops! October 28, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the first Tubby Dubonnet mystery that I've read and I enjoyed it very much. While Tubby is a fairly innocuous character, it seems he good-naturedly stumbles from one intrigue into another without ever intending to do anything except make an OK living as a New Orleans lawyer.

Tubby starts out by agreeing to help settle the estate of an old acquaintance who has been murdered. As the divorced father of three daughters, he is pressured by his youngest daughter to take on a "pro bono" case for a local university group. He is also present when a young black woman who is being chased by apparent killers runs into a bar asking for help, and both the bar owner and Tubby agree to try to help her. Then Tubby is hired by a local casino to perform minor duties like checking that they have all the proper licenses that they need. And, somehow, all of these incidents are related!

The story moved along fairly quickly and Tubby manages to come out OK amidst some not-so-OK happenings. He is a likeable character and this book was a fun read.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars highly realistic legal world June 7, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This may be one of the most realistic books about a lawyer I have encountered.

Once in awhile, you can do something good. In this case, Tubby can get a young man out of jail on a habeas corpus petition.

His most lucrative client is pretty evil - again just like real life.

Mostly he can make accommodations and somehow arrive at more or less satisfactory results. Usually nobody gets 100%.

Just like real life.

The dialog is excellent - reminds me of the Spencer novels [major kudos].

The plot is good enough to keep me interested and the story flows along at a good pace.

High recommendation
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Good One
They just keep getting better and better... Tubby has really got it together. I never get tired reading about his exploits.
Published 9 hours ago by Alaskajim
4.0 out of 5 stars good Tubby
I enjoyed the book the best of all the Tubby Dubonnets I've read so far. So what if parts of it are a little implausible?
Published 19 hours ago by cyoder
5.0 out of 5 stars City of Beads
Want a funny read with a hero who is human but has lots of luck to get himself out of jams? Whose friends never stick around long? A taste of the real New Orleans? Read more
Published 20 hours ago by Caseyannie
5.0 out of 5 stars TOUGH TO GO TO BED, WHEN READING, FOR ME.

Published 1 day ago by Wilburn P. Pool
3.0 out of 5 stars much better than expected
The book started off a little slow but as I live inn New Orleans for a while I realized it was moving at the pace of the city. Plot was convoluted enough to hold my interest.
Published 1 day ago by Estelle
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good mystery worth the read
Published 2 days ago by James A. Skinner
5.0 out of 5 stars engaging enjoyable
What a great story and subplots! Beautifully descriptive and nicely written; this writer throws out the bait a reels you in before you know it, you are caught. Read more
Published 3 days ago by karin kightlinger
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good reading
Published 3 days ago by Lorraine Bedard
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this series! Can't wait to read the next book, and the next, and...
I love the reality of the characters in this series. Tubby is a guy who sometimes does the wrong thing for the right reasons. Read more
Published 3 days ago by KelliEvans
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A good read for a rainy day! Complex enough to keep you engaged.
Published 3 days ago by Deborah Eittreim
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More About the Author

Tony Dunbar started writing at quite a young age. When he was 12, growing up in Atlanta, he told people that he was going to be a writer, but it took him until the age of 19 to publish his first book, Our Land Too, based on his civil rights experiences in the Mississippi delta. For entertainment, Tony turned not to television but to reading mysteries such as dozens of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe stories. Among his favorites are: Dashiell Hammett, author of The Maltese Falcon, and Tony Hillerman, and John D. MacDonald, and Mickey Spillane, and...

He has lived in New Orleans for a long, long time, and in addition to writing mysteries and more serious fare he attended Tulane Law School and continues an active practice involving, he says, "money." That practice took a hit in the Hurricane Katrina flooding, but the experience did produce a seventh Tubby Dubonnet mystery novel, Tubby Meets Katrina

The Tubby series so far comprises seven books: The Crime Czar, City of Beads, Crooked Man, Shelter from the Storm, Trick Question, Lucky Man, and Tubby Meets Katrina. The main character, Tony says, is the City of New Orleans itself, the food, the music, the menace, the party, the inhabitants. But Tubby Dubonnet is the actual protagonist, and he is, like the author, a New Orleans attorney. Unlike the author, however, he finds himself involved in serious crime and murder, and he also ears exceptionally well. He is "40 something," the divorced father of three daughters, a collector of odd friends and clients, and he is constantly besieged by ethical dilemmas. But he is not fat; he is a former jock and simply big.

Tony's writing spans quite a few categories and is as varied as his own experiences. He has written about people's struggle for survival, growing out of his own work as a community organizer in Mississippi and Eastern Kentucky. He has written about young preachers and divinity students who were active in the Southern labor movement in the 1930s, arising from his own work with the Committee of Southern Churchmen and Amnesty International. He has written and edited political commentary, inspired by seeing politics in action with the Voter Education Project. And he has had the most fun with the mysteries, saying, "I think I can say everything I have to say about the world through the medium of Tubby Dubonnet."

Hurricane Katrina and the floods, which caused the mandatory evacuation of New Orleans for months, blew Tony into an off-resume job serving meals in the parking lot of a Mississippi chemical plant to hundreds of hardhats imported to get the complex dried out and operating. It also gave Tony time to write Tubby Meets Katrina, which was the first published novel set in the storm. It is a little grimmer than most of the books in the series, describing as it does the chaos in the sparsely populated city immediately after the storm. "It was a useful way for me to vent my anger," Tony says. Still, even in a deserted metropolis stripped of electric power. Tubby manages to find a good meal.

The Tubby Dubonnet series has been nominated for both the Anthony Award and the Edgar Allen Poe Award. While the last one was published in 2006, the author says he is now settling down to write again. But about what? "Birds and wild flowers," he suggests. Or "maybe television evangelists." Or, inevitably, about the wondrous and beautiful city of New Orleans.


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