October 11th, 2003


Curt Colbert, Sayonaraville

A bunch of my more recent book purchases have been mysteries. The latest is Sayonaraville by Curt Colbert. This story takes place in Seattle shortly after World War II. The private eye in the story is Jake Rossiter, a veteran and chauvinist. His assistant is Miss Jenkins, who he's recently promoted to junior private eye. Jake sees money in solving who's killed the insurance agent who shares his building. Miss Jenkins sees justice in her first case, trying to find out who's behind the theft of the Hashimoto's business after they returned from the Minidoka internment camp.

In this world, men are hard-drinking. Women are dames. Japs like the Hashimotos are almost the enemyh (even though they served with distinction on the European front). Cops are mostly corrupt. From this outdated worldview comes a relatively interesting story.

There's a little bit of coincidence involved in the story, which I always detest in my detective stories. I'd prefer that dogged determination and a little luck play the larger part. Still, I like the characters. Jake proves he's capable of learning something. Miss Jenkins shows she's more than just window dressing. In the end, it's all pretty much fluff. But fun fluff.