Death Was the Other Woman
Reading a good noir detective novel is like watching an old movie on a sleepless, rainy night. One is actually glad to be an insomniac. This book is virtually guaranteed to keep you up into the wee hours. Moody and atmospheric, it has just the right mix of sympathetic but flawed protagonists, mysterious, sexy clients and lumbering bad guys, coming together in a wonderfully complex plot, all set against the backdrop of Depression-era LA.
But Linda Richards’ hard-boiled tale has a twist. Rather than told by the handsome and brooding detective, the story is seen through the eyes of Kitty Pangborn, his perky and naïve secretary, a gal who fits the bill of a Girl Friday as if she had been born to it. Like a classic Chandler, the plot poses more questions than it answers at first, presenting one mystery after another, leading up to the inevitable unpredictable resolution at its end.
While remaining true to the tradition of LA crime fiction, Richards’ novel is a delight to read. But its defining feature is its characters. These are people who we want to know more about. One can only look forward to discovering more of Kitty’s adventures.