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The Big Boat to Bye-Bye Hardcover – March 1, 2005
From Publishers Weekly
Pete Ingalls, the PI throwback with the overdrive mind and tongue to match, takes on the sordid, violent world of puppetry in his second adventure with a Chandler-style title (after 2004's Drop Dead, My Lovely). Weiner, a former National Lampoon editor, uses a rapid-fire technique that sprays gags and gimmicks—some wildly off-target, some dead-on—in a parody of the hard-boiled PI novel. The producers of PBS kids' show Playground Pals contact Ingalls because someone is blackmailing them with a stolen outtake of obscene puppetry. The ethnically diverse, uniformly bland puppets shed their inhibitions and shred their image on the film, which the thief promises to post on the Internet unless he's paid $1 million. Ingalls dresses the part of a 1940s PI (double-breasted suit with padded shoulders, ample pleated trousers, broad and stylish headwear) and speaks in the same outmoded fashion (pal, sugar, babe). Ingalls bumbles and thrashes his clueless way through the cutthroat world of performers, producers and creative geniuses composing the universe of children's television. Luckily for Ingalls, he's assisted by Stephanie Constantino, an aspiring actress who does some pretty talented sleuthing when she's not saving Ingalls from himself. Adding spice is a wonderful shaggy-dog story involving three women and a lost necklace.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Playground Pals, a public television touchstone, features a variety of ethnic puppets learning about tolerance, acceptance, and compassion. But after the show is in the can, the creative staff put the puppets through some decidedly non-PC paces involving bondage and other simulated sexual high jinks. These in-house-only skits may now end up on the Internet if a certain blackmailer has his or her way. DD Productions' principals, husband and wife Donnie Dansicker and Charlotte Purdy, hire Pete Ingalls to investigate. Ingalls has embraced the PI lifestyle: fedora, double-breasted suits, tough-guy patter, and, of course, a beautiful assistant. Dansicker gets the ransom money, Ingalls loses it to a home invader, a former DD Productions employee is bludgeoned to death with an Emmy, and the puppet sex clips hit the Internet. Ingalls is a memorably naive narrator who can't read his own interview notes, is forever distracted by an inner dialogue in which he ponders the nature of his existence, and is more committed to the mythos of the private eye than to solving his cases. A sophisticated, very funny pastiche. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Pete begins making inquiries after interviewing the staff as it seems obvious that to have taped the bawdy exchanges that occurred between actual takes, it had to be an inside job. He quickly discovers almost everyone detests the producers and had access to the tape. While Pete is ably aided by his office assistant wannabe actress Stephanie Constantino, the case turns deadly when murder occurs.
Following up on his sleuthing in DROP DEAD, MY LOVELY, Pete works the Hollywood crowd as he tries to solve the case in which there are suspects galore. He remains a pop philosopher with observations on life that would make everyone except Stephanie, who knows better, believe that he has too much time on his hands. The blackmail turning into a homicide investigation is cleverly conceived so that fans of Hollywood Noir receive an enjoyable often amusing one reel tale.