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Comment: Ex-library book. The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting.
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Femme: A "Nameless Detective" Novella Hardcover – August 14, 2013

3.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the start of this hard-edged novella from MWA Grand Master Pronzini, the unnamed PI hero of his long-running series (Hellbox, etc.) muses on femme fatales. After more than 40 years of detecting, Nameless never expected to cross paths with one, until his bail bondsman friend, Abe Melikian, introduces him to 28-year-old Cory Beckett ( A deadly woman who brought a couple of new twists to the species ). Melikian wants Nameless to track down Beckett's younger brother, Kenneth, who has jumped bail on a charge of stealing a diamond necklace worth ,000. The jewelry belonged to the alcoholic wife of San Francisco union leader and power broker Andrew Vorhees, who employed Kenneth to tend to his yacht. The devious Beckett's scheme and persona aren't unusual enough to make her that memorable a villainess, but few will be able to forget the image of her revealed on the last page. (Dec.)
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Product Details

  • Series: Nameless Detective
  • Hardcover: 175 pages
  • Publisher: Cemetery Dance Publications; First Edition edition (August 14, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587672677
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587672675
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,698,328 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This one didn't disappoint. Since this is a novella, it can be read in just a couple of hours on a quiet evening, which is how I read it. Also, since it's a novellla, I'll not discuss the plot details too much. Nameless and his associate Jake Runyon are looking for Kenneth Beckett, the younger brother of Cory Beckett, their client. Kenneth has been accused of burglary, and Cory only wants him back safe and sound before the judge finds out he's skipped bail. Or so she says. Nameless and Runyon know they're being played even before Runyon finds Kenneth, but there's little they can do about it, ethically or legally. At least not until they get pulled back into the case by Kenneth, who decides to tell what he knows. Before the case is over, Nameless and Runyon have faced one of the deadliest criminals they've ever encountered.
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Format: Hardcover
Supposedly this story chronicles Nameless Detective's first encounter with a "femme fatale". I would have said that at least one and probably several characters in various Nameless novels qualified for that title, but never mind. This is a reasonably good tale, and Pronzini spreads the action across a nice variety of greater-Bay-Area settings, from a ramshackle marina on the Petaluma "river", to a gritty industrial park, to apartments and estates of the wealthy, and places in between. It's short, though; we don't get all that familiar with the one-off characters, and in some places it feels more like a detailed outline of the story than the story itself. As other reviewers have noted, FEMME is a novella -- I gather the publisher is bringing out a series of novellas by modern crime/mystery writers -- and that's OK in itself, but ... two stories this length would make a book, but FEMME is just one, and it's been stretched and padded in various ways to fill out 175 pages. The typeface is a little larger than usual, the text-column-width is a little narrower, and there are a fair number of blank in-between-chapters pages and nearly blank end-of-chapter pages with just the last lines of a paragraph at the top. I checked this out of the local library; probably only dedicated Pronzini completists/collectors would feel they got their money's worth paying full price for their own copy.
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Format: Hardcover
Cory Beckett, an evil woman out of a fifties noir movie, unafraid to use her sex appeal to get what she wants, crosses paths with Bill Pronzini's "nameless" detective in FEMME.

The book is typical "nameless," a hardboiled tale set in a realistic modern world with a detective agency that does insurance investigations and skip traces besides the juicy stuff of mystery novels. Unlike the hardboiled dicks of the movies, these detectives worry about legal niceties like breaking and entering and client privilege.

Being grounded in reality adds to the attraction of this series. FEMME is shorter than most "nameless" works (it's billed as a novella) but it is just as powerful. Mr. Pronzini's novels usually intertwine at least two ongoing cases, since the firm has three operatives and an all purpose secretary. In this case the sole focus is on Cory Beckett, her borderline psychotic brother, her rich lover Andrew Vorhees, and her new lover Frank Chaleen.

As always with Mr. Pronzini, the story moves swiftly. The characters are well drawn but never bog down the action. And the powerful ending always gives a few unexpected twists.

Another winner.
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Format: Hardcover
One of a pair of "Nameless Detective" novellas published simultaneously (the other, "Kinsmen," is next up for this reviewer), this is a hard-boiled tale about a pretty girl, Cory Beckett, with no morals, a penchant for marrying rich men and a spineless brother who usually does her bidding (along with other males who she entices with sexual favors). Nameless is called to his favorite bondsman's office to meet her about being retained to find the brother who has skipped town just days before his trial for "stealing" a $20,000 bracelet from the wife of the man with whom Cory is currently involved.

It remains for Jake Runyon, Nameless' associate, to find the brother, and when he does, various questions and suspicions arise. It is left for the two private detectives to bring this noir story to a satisfactory conclusion. This is a carefully constructed tale about a seductress, leading up to a rather bizarre conclusion. A fast read, it can be finished in a single sitting. That is not to say, be assured, that it is not a worthwhile read, and it is recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
Nameless meets Cory Beckett, a woman whose sexuality smolders, and which seems to cower all men that she meets. It seems that Kenneth, her brother, has done a bad, bad thing. He's skipped bail, and has left her, and bondsman Abe Melikian, in a lurch. And both are none-to-happy about Kenneth's misbehaving.

As the story progresses it comes out that Kenneth has been accused of stealing a twenty-k diamond necklace from the rich Margaret Vorhees. Margaret is the wife of the powerful, double-dealing, and sleazy, labor-leader Andrew Vorhees, who's also having an affair with the equally double-dealing, and sleazy Cory, who uses sex as weapon. Well, at first it seems that this just another ordinary skiptrace, so Nameless, or Will, as he's referred to here, puts series regular Jake Runyon on the case. And from then on, "Femme" will then become a short novel whose darkening story will be told from Nameless' and Jake's viewpoints in alternating chapters.

Well, it seems that the weak-willed Kenneth is not that hard to trace, and when he's found, of course he tells a different story than the one that his sister has spun.

This book being what it is, things will start to get really complicated, as soon there will be double-crosses, dark secrets, really dark secrets, bad behavior, infidelity, jealousy, and murder. Pronzini does it all in "Femme", and he does it all very well indeed.

I really don't know when only four or five hundred page doorstoppers became considered novels, but, in reality, this novel really isn't any longer than an old Ace Double, or an old Carter Brown novel, and in my opinion, it's just the right length. "Femme" never wears out its welcome, it tells its story, and then ends having done its job, and having done it well.
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