Monday, March 19, 2018

Green for a Grave:Review

In Green For a Grave (1946) by Manning Lee Stokes, private eye Barnabas Jones is hired by Philip Keyes--for protection. Keyes is certain that someone is out to kill him. But he won't give Jones any information until the P.I. is on the spot. Keyes hires a cottage right on the waterfront for Jones and his secretary, Myra. He gives Jones a $500 retainer and says he'll tell Jones everything once they are installed in the cottage. 

But he never gets the chance. As Jones is settling into the cottage, Keyes is found slumped in his boat at Wake's Dock on the White River. The dock attendant and assistant who discover him think he's dead drunk and decide to play a little practical joke. They grab a can of green paint and proceed to paint his cheeks and nose, then take off his shoes and anoint his stocking feet as well. But then the assistant realizes the man isn't drunk--just dead. Myra was heading back to the cottage with supplies when she notices the commotion at the dock. She gives every evidence of the casual busybody and finds out just enough to tell her that her boss's client is now an ex-client.

Barney could just as easily pocket his $500 retainer and head on home, but he's a bit perturbed that his client got knocked off before he even got a chance to try and protect him. Because no matter what the police may say, he's quite sure that Keyes was killed and he's determined to find out why. He's officially back on the case when Philip's friend Marcus Palfrey learns that Jones is in town and hires him to get to the bottom of things. It doesn't take long for the detective to unearth a number of people who may have wanted Keyes out of the way--including people who knew Keyes under another name and for his unsavory blackmailing habit.

Jones knows he's getting close to the truth when he finds himself framed for murder and he'll have to work fast to find the killer before the police decide that the frame fits much too well.

This is a decent, mid-range mystery. There are plenty of suspects and a couple of threads that might lead to the culprit, but enough tangles along the way to make it interesting. Barney Jones is a dedicated, bulldog-type who won't leave a mystery hanging, even if his client is dead. One reason I deduct star-points is that the motive isn't entirely clear to me--I do understand the basic premise as explained, but the explanation doesn't completely convince me of a solid motive. But--overall, an entertaining book that made for a very quick read (my slowness to review notwithstanding). ★★

[Finished 3/13/18]

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Green for a Grave is one of my favorite classic novel. I had read in my past year. I am not too much fan of the classic novel. But this novel really changes my mind. When I start the novel I am not interested to read the novel. But later on, I love to read the novel. I download eBook copy for me on March 2015 and finished the novel in 2 months.