From the author
Life's been routine for Thomas Purdue since he and his friends solved The Music Box Murders
last Christmas. It's the following summer now, a steamy August in New York, and Thomas's friend Hugh Curtis has just burst in with the appalling news that someone ripped off his world class collection of musical snuffboxes. Not just any someone, either: the thief was Vincent LoPriore, a very nasty, intimidating man who happens to be an ardent collector of elegant antique singing mechanical birds. Not only that: LoPriore enlisted the aid of Hugh's wife Maddy to make off with the collection and all proof of Hugh's ownership. Worst of all, Maddy is now in the Manhattan Medical Emergency Room, with nine toes in the grave.
Lost collection, lost wife... Hugh Curtis has no recourse. Or does he? Thomas has an idea. With the help of old friends Broadway Schwartz, Big Al Resford, and Frank the Crank, he sets out to set matters straight. It's a big job, though, and some new players enter the picture. There's Edna Reynolds, the Doll Lady, expert makeup artist; Cleveland Gackle, lockpicker extraordinaire; Mick the Dick and Soapy Sandy McFarlane, husband and wife strongarm and pickpocket team; Mr. Espinoza, (Nozey to his friends), sartorial rainbow and Yiddish spouting Puerto Rican owner of a conveniently placed hotel; Fenton Dassidario who loves his electronic surveillance apparatus as much as he fears infectious microorganisms.
And then there's Vincent LoPriore, the Birdman. "What Vincent LoPriore wants," he growled at Hugh Curtis, "Vincent LoPriore gets." What Vincent is in line to get from the Purdue Gang, though, shouldn't happen to a dog... but then, Vincent LoPriore is meaner and more dangerous than any pit bull. Just hope he doesn't catch on.
Original title: Scamming the Birdman
Genre: Fiction→ Crime and Mystery→ Detective Story and Detectives→ Amateur