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Dear Priscilla by Mark Schweizer
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Dear Priscilla

by Mark Schweizer

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The author of the hysterical Hayden Konig liturgical mystery series has something new and different, more a ‘40s noir quite a bit darker than the liturgical series but with some light humor. The place is Chicago and the time is 1943. The war is going on overseas and also on the streets of Chicago. Merl Cahill is a former Chicago Bear and Fish Biederman is his partner. Merl is big and menacing and Fish pads his paycheck as a bookie. Fish reminds me a bit of the bookie in the recent Men of a Certain Age TV series. Fish isn’t above sending a goon out to break a few fingers of those who owe him money. When someone starts leaving body parts in duffle bags, the police aren’t shy in their methods of getting suspects to talk in the typical “Chicago Way.” It is soon learned that the killer is sending letters to a “lonely hearts” columnist at The Times. When these letters spook the “Dear Priscilla” columnist, she quits. Merl, playing around at the typewriter at the columnist’s desk, inadvertently ends up having his playful response mistaken for the real “Dear Priscilla.” His column turns The Times into a must-read newspaper, increasing its subscribers dramatically. The editor talks Merl into taking over the column for a healthy amount of money, which is a welcome addition to his meager cop salary. Meanwhile Merl is somewhat engaged to Vi who lives in Peoria, but is carrying on with Gloria, a new detective on the force. DEAR PRISCILLA is chock full of Chicago history with the cops attending Bear games and the Union Stockyards. Merl is a likeable goon and he and Fish work well together. You don’t need to live in Chicago to enjoy DEAR PRISCILLA. ( )
  SandyLee | Oct 2, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0984484612, Hardcover)

October, 1943. Detective Merl Cahill and his partner, Fish Biederman, have got a good thing going. Chicago in 1943 is a very lucrative place to be one of "Chicago's finest." Merl Cahill is not only one of "Chicago's finest" he's also one of "Chicago's largest" - an ex-Chicago Bears' lineman standing six-seven and weighing two hundred eighty pounds. He might be considered one "Chicago's meanest" if any one of his collars stayed alive long enough to press charges.

When a dead girl is found in an alley behind a grocery store, it's Merl and Fish who get the call. After a second girl turns up, so does the heat. A mug like this would usually be no match for these two, but this killer is different - colder, smarter, with a warped psyche that defies all attempts at unraveling. All they can do is wait for him to strike again.

A female detective promoted to the squad does little for morale and as the tension mounts, it becomes clear that the killer isn't finished. Not by a long shot.

A love story, a hard-bitten potboiler with twists, slugs, roscoes, and more than a few belly laughs, Dear Priscilla is also a look back at Chicago in the early '40s - WWII, Maxwell Street, the Union Stock Yards, the Times, Chicago Bears football - and populated with some of Schweizer's best characters to date. All this makes for a comic noir thriller that you won't want to miss.

Note: Mark Schweizer is known for his cozy, tongue-in-cheek St. Germaine mysteries. Please be aware that although "Dear Priscilla" has a significant amount of humor, it is a hard-edged police thriller.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:08 -0400)

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