Killer on Argyle Street: A Chicago Mystery Featuring Paul Whelan

Michael Raleigh, Author St. Martin's Press $21.95 (248p) ISBN 978-0-312-13532-4
After three stellar books (most recently, The Maxwell Street Blues), the grungy charms of shamus Paul Whelan and his domain, the equally unslick Uptown region of Chicago, are dulled by dragged-out pacing in this fourth effort. A prologue describes a murder near the lake, committed by a sinister man with a talent for disguise. The action then cuts to Whelan taking on the case of a missing teenage boy in the Vietnamese section of the city. It turns out that the missing kid was employed by the man killed in the prologue, as were several other criminal types, all also dead. As the hunt for the boy quickly segues into a hunt for the killer, Raleigh details Whelan's diet of dirt-cheap food, booze and coffee, his bad luck with babes and his dealings with pals and clients-who tend to come from the lower social strata. But the narrative wheels spin too long in nameless bars and diners before finding traction in the relationship between the current case and some figures from Whelan's past. Although not up to the high standard of previous titles, the vividness of Raleigh's Chicago and Chicagoans still raises this entry above average. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/1995
Release date: 10/01/1995
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