The first card I drew for the Deal Me In Short Story Challenge this year was the 2 of Spades. Thus this was a Wild Card choice and I could pick any short story I wanted. This threw me for a loop as I was looking for more structure on that particular day, but I knew I had several books of short stories that I wanted to read in order, so I went looking for them. The book I chose was The Complete Cases of Max Latin by Norbert Davis, and the first story in that book is "Watch Me Kill You!".
Max Latin is a private detective with a difference; his office is a table in a restaurant where he spends much of his time. He presents himself as a shady character, and at the beginning of this story he has just gotten out of jail. He is approached by the husband of a very rich woman who is known as a collector of art; the wife wants some pieces of art painted by her cousin, who refuses to sell them to her. Even though this is an unusual assignment, Latin sees this as an easy route to some cash, so he takes it on. When he goes to visit the cousin, the cousin is lying on the floor, dead, in his studio. Much mayhem ensues and Latin investigates.
Norbert Davis is known for the humor in his writing. Since humor in mysteries is not my favorite thing, I wasn't sure about his writing, but I have purchased all of the books in the Doan and Carstairs series, and I have been planning to read those for a while. This story gave me a taste, and I will be continuing with more of his works.
My list of short stories for the Deal Me In Short Story Challenge is here. Jay at Bibliophilopolis hosts the challenge.
If you want to know more about Norbert Davis or his Max Latin stories, you could start here:
- Norbert Davis at The Thrilling Detective Web Site, a piece which has links to other sources.
- Max Latin at The Thrilling Detective Web Site