Stakeout: A Stanley Hastings Mystery Hardcover – Jan 15 2013
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The Stanley Hastings mysteries depend on subversively sly wordplay. In Caper, catching criminals is all very well, but in the violently verbal world he inhabits, Stanley would be happy just to win an argument. — Marilyn Stasio (The New York Times Book Review)
Parnell Hall succeeds in making Stanley Hastings one of a kind. Pleasantly reminiscent of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. — The Wall Street Journal
The charm in Stanley Hastings lies in his chummy, loquacious, self-deprecating commentary as the narrator of his adventures. — The Washington Post Book World
About the Author
Parnell Hall is an Edgar, Shamus, and Lefty nominee, and is the author of the Stanley Hastings private eye novels, the Puzzle Lady crossword-puzzle mystery series, and the Steve Winslow courtroom dramas. An actor, screenwriter, and former private investigator, Hall lives in New York City.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Stanley has a long-suffering wife, Alice, who he readily admits is a lot smarter than he is, but strangely enough, he never seems to follow her advice.
The murder mystery is secondary to the character study, in my opinion. I enjoy the relationships between Stanley and Alice, Stanley and Richard the attorney, and Stanley and his police detective friend McAuliffe. A very enjoyable read.
I received this book from NetGalley in return for a review; I was not paid for this review, nor required to post a positive review.
Stakeout by Parnell Hall is an Pegasus publication and was released in January 2013. This is a Stanley Hastings Mystery. Stanley feels like a real detective when he is hired by a woman to find out if her husband is having an affair. Stanley is staking out a motel where the man in question has gone. A woman never shows up, however. After waiting what felt like an inordinate amount of time, Stanley loses patience and goes to see what's going on. He finds the man has been murdered and almost immediately, the cops show up and arrest Stanley for murder. Stanley's lawyer, his wife, and a New York detective all get involved in the case as Stanley tries to find out who really killed the guy in the motel as well as another murder victim that could be related. Stanley's case turns out to be quite complicated. A mobster, his girlfriend and his wife, the woman that hired him and the manager of the motel all wind up being suspects. Stanley's lawyer is at his wits end as Stanley continues to get in his own way. Laugh out loud funny, this screwball mystery was an absolute delight. Stanley's conversations with his wife are classic, the descriptions of New York and New Jersey traffic had me bowled over in laughter. I highly recommend this mystery, and all the charming Stanley Hastings mysteries. I promise you will love these. Highly recommend!
Like Peter Seller's Jacques Clouseau, we have a detective who never seems to be able to get it right - until the mystery all falls into place and he escapes unscathed by arrests or by mob revenge at the end.
This has a lot of laughs, a good mystery, and a memorable detective with all the wiles of Pink Panther's Peter Sellers as Jacques Clouseau - a fun and laugh out loud read.
Stanley Hastings is a wisecracking PI who gets arrested on suspicion of murder when the eponymous stakeout goes horribly wrong and he compounds the error several different ways. Now Stanley has to prove his innocence before what looks like an open-and-shut case is shut on him.
Oh man, the writing in this book is terrible. Hall is clearly striving for a kind of screwball, ricocheting dialogue feel, but the "who's on first?" style gets old really fast, and actively gets in the way of both the narrative, and a clear understanding of what's going on.
This is compounded by the fact that dialogue makes up over 85% of the prose. There's almost no description, or action - and what little there is comes from Hastings (you guessed it) screwball narration.
The book is stuffed with implausibly, and I can see the author was going for a wacky, helter-skelter feel, but the result is more like aimless careening, with Hastings bouncing from one ridiculous scenario to the next.
All of this inanity crowds out the central mystery, renders a sense of danger or peril impossible, and leaves the characters flat and completely unbelievable. This one was a dud.