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A Stab in the Dark (Matthew Scudder Mysteries) Mass Market Paperback – April 30, 2002
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About the Author
A Mystery Writers of America Grand Master, Lawrence Block is a four-time winner of the Edgar Allan Poe and Shamus Awards, as well as a recipient of prizes in France, Germany, and Japan. The author of more than fifty books and numerous short stories, he is a devout New Yorker who spends much of his time traveling.
Though Roberts is an expressive, earnest narrator, fans of Block's endlessly satisfying Matthew Scudder mysteries will find the tone of this reading somehow off. Block's writing is understated and restrained, reflecting his hero's resigned acceptance of humankind's darker nature. Scudder is not surprised by the failings of people, including himself. Roberts's reading is showy, infused with an incredulity that is simply not in keeping with Scudder's informed fatalism. Still, this is a Scudder mystery, and listeners will enjoy his relentless investigation into the brutal nine-year-old murder of a pregnant woman. The novel is early in the Scudder series, by the way, and an important stepping-stone on his way to sobriety. M.O. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Scudder is a plodding bloodhound of a detective and he doggedly asks questions, hoping something will turn up and fall into his lap. Little by little, the clues come together and something points him in the direction of what really happened. If you like mysteries, this is a good one. Its not as dark and despairing as other Scudder novels. He has yet to admit that he has an alcohol problem, although he can't always remember how he got home.
It is another dark, gritty terrific novel. If you have read early Block, you will see how all the stuff he tried before comes together in the Scudder novels. There doesn't seem to be a clunker in the bunch.
Louis Pinell, the recently apprehended "Icepick Prowler," freely admits to having slain seven young women nine years ago -- but be swears it was a copycat who killed Barbara Ettinger Matthew Scudder believes him. ...
In this 4th Matthew Scudder book, Scudder is asked to look into the murder of Charles London's daughter, Barbara. At the time she was believed to have been a victim of the "Icepick" serial killer who has been recently arrested. Pinell, the killer has an alibi for when Barbara was slain and London wants Scudder to make some enquiries because the police aren't particularly interested. Who was responsible for Ettinger's death and why?
Scudder's enquiries lead him back to Ettinger's husband at the time, who may or may not having been cheating on Barbara and could ostensibly have been responsible for the murder. Digging deeper and speaking with the original officers who were part of the original enquiry, as well as Barbara's sister and neighbours; Matthew still feels the trail has gone too cold and the task is fruitless. Scudder's involvement also brings him into contact with the victim's employer at the time of her death, Janice Corwin. Sensing a kindred spirit, with a similar fondness for alcohol, they become involved.
After upsetting someone with his questions and the consequent re-opening of old wounds, London tries to yank Scudder off the case. As Scudder hasn't actually been hired he refuses and continues to dig until he finds the answer.
I enjoyed the continuation of Block's series and Scudder's continued descent deeper and deeper into the bottle. There is an acknowledgement from him of issues with alcohol, brought home to him, when Jan breaks off their fledgling relationship. How he addresses these difficulties, I'm hoping is explored in book 5 of the series which I will be reading next month.
This was another enjoyable and solid book from Block. I would definitely recommend this series to anyone who has enjoys crime fiction and watching the evolution and development of a main character.
4 from 5
I bought my copy second-hand years ago, source forgotten.