The Removal Company: An Historical Mystery Novel

J. K. Maxwell, Author . Borgo $14.99 (184p) ISBN 978-1-4344-5717-2

Maxwell does a fine job of evoking the spirit of the crime fiction of the 1930s in his mystery debut, inspired by the obscure 1891 W.C. Morrow short story of the same title. On March 4, 1933, FDR's inauguration day, a distraught widower, Arthur Vance, calls on PI Joe Scintilla at his Manhattan office. Vance shows the detective a picture of his late wife, Katharine, who killed herself in 1931 after a referral from her therapist to an outfit called the Removal Company. Vance also shows Scintilla a clipping from a 1932 New York newspaper announcing the wedding of Elena Cavalieri with a photo of the bride. Vance believes Cavalieri and Katharine are the same person. Grudgingly, Scintilla accepts the case, traveling to California and later to Italy in search of the truth. The premise and the prose compare favorably with the work of Edgar Wallace. While the final payoff is a little too pat, readers will want to see more of Scintilla. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 10/12/2009
Release date: 08/01/2009
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