The Greer Agency – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
“Millionaire found bludgeoned, lover held,” the headlines screamed, or something to that effect. I read some of the articles and it all came back. Sikes, heir to an old Philly family fortune was found murdered by his homosexual lover, Oscar Boss. Boss was found unconscious at the scene, covered in blood. He was arrested, tried, and convicted after a sensational trial that made the newspaper publishers happy for months. Boss had no defense. He admitted to breaking in to the house, he was high on a variety of drugs and, worst of all, his fingerprints were all over the murder weapon, a heavy candelabra. Boss maintained his innocence throughout. He claimed he had a witness, a woman fleeing the scene. The mysterious woman was never found, although the DNA of several women were found in and around the mansion.
Michael Greer is a private eye in the town of Altoona, PA. He keeps an office in back of a strip mall church called, Church of the Rising Son. The pastor Alphonse Brown, or just Pastor Al to his friends, isn’t your ordinary run of the mill pastor. He runs AA meetings, weight watcher meetings, group therapy sessions and any other group that allows him to make money on the side. By being involved in these groups, there isn’t much that goes on in Altoona that gets past Pastor Al and this usually works to Mike’s advantage when it comes to his cases, as in the case of the Sikes murder. Without a nudge from Pastor Al and him telling Mike who he should talk to, an innocent man would have been put to death. Of course the bonus that went along with his finding the truth gave him a push too.
One of the first things I found while reading The Greer Agency was that it was different. Very different. Where most “who-done-its” are made up of one case that you follow from the beginning to the end of the book, The Greer Agency gives you a different case story with each chapter but still allows you to follow what is going on with the star characters – Mike, Susan and Pastor Al. I will admit that the beginning of the 1st story reminded me of a Marlowe, Spade or Wolfe novel due to Mike referring to himself as a “gumshoe” but that likeness lasted for 2 pages and from there on I read stories that would make all three of these master sleuths envious. The characters are believable, the stories are well written and I really found myself wanting to get to the next story to see what trouble Mike would find himself falling into and how he would solve the mystery.
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