cover image The Second Murderer: A Philip Marlowe Novel

The Second Murderer: A Philip Marlowe Novel

Denise Mina. Mulholland, $28 (272p) ISBN 978-0-316265-64-5

Mina (The Less Dead) successfully emulates the language and tone of Raymond Chandler’s hard-boiled novels featuring California P.I. Marlowe in this terrific pastiche. Though Marlowe has been instrumental in solving the murder of cowboy actor Pasco Pete, the gumshoe is unsettled by a sense he missed something. There’s no time to reopen the investigation, however, as he’s summoned to help the überwealthy Chadwick Montgomery track down his missing 22-year-old daughter, Chrissie, who vanished from the family estate the morning after her engagement party. Despite his distaste for Montgomery and uncertainty about whether Chrissie wants to be found, Marlowe accepts the case, which quickly leads to the discovery of multiple bodies, the revelation of Montgomery family secrets, and possible links to Pasco Pete’s death. The search is further complicated by the presence of Marlowe’s professional rival, detective Anne Riordan, whom Montgomery has also retained to find Chrissie. On top of nailing Chandler’s atmospherics (“Out on Santa Monica the heat was oiling up from the ground. Dust whipped past us on a spiteful breeze”), Mina delivers a truly surprising plot. Noir fans will hope Mina returns to the mean streets of L.A. again soon. Agent: Henry Dunow, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary. (Aug.)