Deal Me In, Week 16 ~ “Long Odds”

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Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis

“Long Odds” by Stuart M. Kaminsky

Card picked: Ten of Diamonds

From: Murder on the Ropes, edited by Otto Penzler

Thoughts: When boxer Archie Moore receives a threat–go down in the third or else–he hires private detective Toby Peters to find the extortionist.

I think this is one of the first straight-up mysteries in this anthology. It’s pretty simply told in a mildly hard-boiled style. Toby Peters is a series character for Stuart Kaminsky, and you get the feeling that Peters and his dentist office roommate/side kick are a comfy pair of slippers for the author. I didn’t recognize the name while reading, but I have a Kaminsky/Toby Peters title on my magic-related fiction wishlist. My only beef with “Long Odds,” and maybe this is a problem of short fiction mysteries, is that the end was fairly abrupt in a “and no questions were asked” kind of way.

Archie Moore was a real person. He had one of the longest professional careers in boxing (1935-1963) and holds the record for number of career KO wins (131!). He is the only fighter to have had bouts against both Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali. This story happens early his career, but using Moore as a character gives the tale more weight. Moore isn’t the type of guy to take a dive and he has a few things in his past that make him leery of police. Kaminsky made a good choice.