- File Size: 5971 KB
- Print Length: 314 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0982633920
- Publisher: Diversion Books (March 1, 2015)
- Publication Date: March 1, 2015
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00U69WRW4
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #839,025 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Death and Taxes Kindle Edition
|Length: 314 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Whitney, was a hard-drinking CPA with a strong right cross who was not going to let go of a murder case after his partner was murdered. His partner, "George MacLeod had a bankroll, a good-looking brunette wife, and a weakness for blondes. He did pretty good in both fields until he got involved with a girl with yellow hair and tax troubles." What a terrific pulpy opening to a novel! With gangsters, bootleggers, a pair of playboy-type accountants, and a mystery having to do with taxes, tax refunds, and, of course, murder, Dodge was off and running with his first novel.
The story involves a bootlegging fortune, a gorgeous blonde heiress, bullets, gunfire, and more. As others have noted, this series is not as good a read as Dodge's later series about Al Colby in Latin America, but who else would have an accountant as his hero in a hardboiled novel?
It's set in San Francisco and the hero is "Whit" Whitney the dashing young junior partner in a two-man firm. When his partner is murdered, Whitney reluctantly teams up with the S.F.P.D. to solve the murder and retrieve the evidence needed to claim a big tax refund for a beautiful heiress. It's a complicated story of legal breweries and bootlegging, business partners who don't always trust each other, and how underworld characters are never too far removed from even the most respectable appearing businesses. The climax is not a complete surprise, but it's well done.
This was the first of four mysteries that Dodge wrote about Whitney and they sold well enough to allow him and his family to travel extensively. He had further success with several travel books and then started setting his mysteries in more exotic locations. TO CATCH A THIEF caught the attention of Alfred Hitchcock and was made into a classic movie.
But I like the domestic books. The characters are very much what you would expect from the noir period and the humor is out-standing. It's a simpler time, when a bad case of sunburn is an inconvenience, not a precursor to cancer. WWII has begun, but Americans are still sitting it out and all the stylish San Francisco gents have a "Jap" houseboy, some of whom are as handy at keeping intruders at bay as they are at mixing highballs. The police complain about regulations that keep them from beating confessions out of suspects, but it doesn't hold them back much. The idea of driving from Mexico to San Francisco through miles of farm land is almost as attractive as a world in which TWO different guns means PROFESSIONAL KILLERS! It's a charming, well-written period piece and I enjoyed it. I hope the others in this series will be available as Kindle editions soon. I'm ready to buy them.
In Death and Taxes, it falls to Whitney to uncover who killed his partner in the accounting firm they owned, and made the partner's pretty bride, whom he treated shabbily, a widow. The action takes place in San Francisco and Dodge knows the city very well. Like the successor in the series, Shear the Black Sheep, Death and Taxes is a genuine whodunit. In the last two books in the series, Bullets for the Bridegroom and It Ain't Hay, we know who the villain is; the suspense is about how Whitney will bring him to justice.
Since this is a series, there is no spoiler in telling you that Whitney triumphs in the end, against a murderer who does a good job of hiding his identity until the end. You might also expect that Whitney develops a love interest for his partner's widow as well. The resolution of the plot is logical and satisfying, and you'll learn a little bit about the income tax code back then. If you think taxes are high now, the top marginal rate in the '50's was 90!
Of the three series, I like the three book series involving South American adventurer Al Colby a bit more, but this is a great series and a great place to get to know David Dodge/