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The Bessie Blue Killer: A Hobart Lindsey/Marvia Plum Mystery Hardcover – March, 1994

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The hook in this mystery-thriller is the full-bloom romance between white insurance adjuster Hobart Lindsey and black homicide detective Marvia Plum, who last teamed up in The Classic Car Killer . Lindsey's employer has written a $100-million policy covering a film company against any misadventure in the production of a film about the Tuskegee Airmen, the Air Force's all-black WW II flying corps. With Marvia's help, Lindsey probes the mysterious murder of a black janitor on location at the Oakland, Calif., airport at the start of filming. Lupoff concocts a fantastic chase scene with an armada of antique WW II planes pursuing a B-17 while the deranged pilot, who has Marvia's 9-year-old son on board, is coaxed into landing on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific. Aside from such goofiness, the tale contains plenty of information about the Tuskegee Airmen and the ammunition dump catastrophe in Port Chicago, Calif., in July 1944, which killed 320, many of them black stevedores. Lupoff's deft handling of his characters' relationship is captured in Marvia's lines to her lover: "You let me be black, but you don't make me be black . . ."
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Lupoff's latest Hobart Lindsey/Marvia Plum story deserves four stars for its imaginative and unusual plot, its subtle but sidesplitting humor, its cast of wonderfully wacky characters, its thought-provoking commentary on race relations, and its nostalgic and fascinating look at the flyboys of World War II. Hobart Lindsey, intrepid claims adjuster for International Surety, is no stranger to murder and mayhem, but his newest assignment almost proves his undoing. International Surety has written an umbrella policy on Double Bee Enterprises, which is about to start shooting a film based on the Tuskegee Airmen, an elite group of blacks who flew B-17s in World War II. But the murder of a security guard at the film site has everyone more than a little nervous. And when Lindsey begins to investigate to determine if InternationaI Surety will have to pay up, he finds a case more puzzling and convoluted than any he's ever worked on. With the help of his new honeybunch, Detective Marvia Plum, and his old buddy, Lieutenant High of the Oakland Police Department, Lindsey follows leads from California to Louisiana and confronts drug thugs, thieves, kidnappers, and whacked-out war heroes. A fun, funny, fascinating read that belongs in every mystery collection. Emily Melton

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: St Martins Pr; 1st edition (March 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312104251
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312104252
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,009,614 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Susan on October 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I just discovered Richard Lupoff's work at my local public library. I enjoyed reading the Bessie Blue Killer and am now onto the Cover Girl Killer. Unfortunately our library does not have his complete series, such as the first and maybe a few more in between, but does have his newest, which got 4 star here on Amazon.
Noticed that one reviewer did not give much praise for the first(?) in the series, The Comic Book Killer, which I did not read. Please don't let that review discourage you from reading other books in this series, by Richard Lupoff. The main character is not showy or flashy which is appealing. I judge how much I like a book if I keep wanting to read it, anxious to find out what happens next. I did this with Bessie Blue Killer and now with Cover Girl Killer, (which is even better than Bessie Blue). If anyone wanted me to recommend a mystery writer I would recommend Mr. Lupoff.
Maybe it helps to have an interest or be familiar the San Francisco area, as the series centers around the cities of the East Bay; Berkeley, Oakland,as well as Walnut Creek,San Francisco and surrounding areas. Hobart Lindsey, the investigator in this series, often travels however: Denver, Chicago, Lake Tahoe, sometimes with his lover and Berkeley Homicide Dective Marvia Plum. Theirs is an inter-racial relationship, but the description of their romance is not trite, pandering, nor politcally correct. Both Marvia and Hobart are real people, not stereotypes.
The series also takes place in the 1990's but I don't find that a distraction, even with technological advances pre 1990-something. It is fun to read about computer use in books written prior to the present day!
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