|Snake Oil (1990) [Novel]|
by Les Roberts
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When sometime-actor/sometime-sleuth Saxon, a Los Angeles private investigator, is approached by the very wealthy, very unlikable real estate developer George Amptman to find out if Amptmanís wife, Nanette, is having an affair, Saxon is reluctant. But Amptman seems so pathetic- and he offers so much money, seven hundred and fifty dollars a day that Saxon agrees to spy on the errant wife. And when her lover, a petroleum engineer is strangled with a silk scarf, Saxon finds himself hip-deep in the bizarre world of oil.
His old nemesis, Lieutenant Joe Di Mattia of the LAPD, thinks Nanette Amptman murdered her lover. But thereís no dearth of other suspects. The crusty old wildcatter whoís made and lost fortunes. The mysterious East Indian with a very nasty pet cobra. The powerful oil baron who fired the victim because of his womanizing. And the exquisite movie actress more famous for her private performances than her on-screen ones. And thereís no shortage of motives, either. Thirty two million of them, all with dollar signs. Saxon ranges up and down the oil-rich beach areas of Los Angelesís South Bay, facing an ape-like oil driller who wants to tear him apart, a second murder, an attempt on his own life, and a wrenching examination of his own courage.
A tender love affair with a strong independent woman brightens his life, and his teenaged adopted son, Marvel, provides some much-needed moral support when the going gets toughest.
Through it all, all Saxon fans will be glad to hear, he never loses his wry sense of humor.
Original title: Snake Oil
Genre: Fiction→ Crime and Mystery→ Detective Story and Detectives→ Noir