A weekly alert for followers of crime, mystery, and thriller fiction.
The Paris Deadline, by Max Byrd (Turner):
This book was originally scheduled for release in
mid-October; however, I see that it’s already available from Amazon and other
online retailers, so let’s go ahead and consider its virtues. Set in the City
of Light, beginning in 1926, Byrd’s colorful, often clever tale spotlights Toby
Keats, a still-traumatized veteran of the so-called Great War, who now works as a rewrite man for the Chicago Tribune. Keats is accustomed to a fairly peaceful, near-monkish existence, sampling Paris’ gourmet wares
as he observes girls herding goats through the streets and mutilated French
ex-soldiers trying to survive without too obviously begging. But then into his
life falls what may be Vaucanson’s Duck, a “somewhat scandalous” 18th-century automaton that’s coveted by an American banker and a delightful and resourceful young woman named Elsie Short of the Thomas Edison Doll Company, as well as by criminals who may desire the phony fowl for its interior mechanism--technology that could further advance weapons development. Byrd won a Shamus Award for California Thriller (1981), the first in a trio of novels starring San Francisco private eye Mike
Haller. During the 1990s he penned historical fiction about a trio of U.S. presidents: Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and Ulysses S. Grant. Now, in The
Paris Deadline, he delivers a sparkling and suspenseful caper with a mystery plot well-rooted in a loving re-creation of Jazz Age Paris.