Caper Paperback – Feb 7 2012
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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 (New York Times Book Review)
The charm in Stanley Hastings lies in his chummy, loquacious, self-deprecating commentary as the narrator of his adventures. — The Washington Post Book World
Parnell Hall succeeds in making Stanley Hastings one of a kind. Pleasantly reminiscent of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. — Wall Street Journal
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)
So it is no surprise (in this or any other novel in the series) that Stanley is taken in and bumbles along some convoluted path until whatever trouble he finds himself in is resolved. In "Caper," he is retained to find out why the client's daughter is skipping school. Well, of course, everything is not as it seems, and at one point a murder complicates Stanley's path to solving the "case." He even becomes a suspect.
Strangely enough, as one reads, Stanley emerges less as a fool and, perhaps, more as an idiot savant. There are major portions of the novel that are very funny. And more important, in today's often dreary world, it is fast reading and an interesting tale, and is recommended.
Unfortunately, it doesn't work out the way.
Stanley Hastings is his own worst enemy. He runs his mouth when he shouldn't and sometimes makes really poor judgment calls, but in the end he solves the mystery.
The problem is, there's not even story hear for a full book, so the author resorts to scenes that are essentially exercises in stalling. For example, Stanley repeatedly meets with his lawyer, who refuses to get involved and peppers him with put-downs. Same with his policemen friend. It gets old very quickly and does little to nothing to further the story. It's like you're reading the same scene over and over again.
The character and the series have potential, but it's not realized in this book.
All in all, a mildly entertaining but by no means a deep book and I may even checkout out another Parnell book from the library.
4 stars for the quick moving plot, believable hero - 1 star off for the unnecessary repetitious dialog.