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.

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6 thoughts on “Deal Me In, Week 16 ~ “Long Odds”

  1. Ummm, a mystery anthology does sound like a bit of a problem concept. The shorter the story, the less tension and ‘mystery’ an author has time to build. Sounds like the characterisations in this were good though!

  2. Pingback: Deal Me In 2015 – Week 16 Wrap Up | Bibliophilopolis

  3. I remember Archie Moore’s name, but I never saw him fight (not THAT old). Coincidentally, I just had a talk with our office’s daytime security guard (picture Saul Goodman’s hired ‘muscle’ in Breaking Bad) about boxing and the upcoming Mayweather-Pachiao fight. We went back into the ’70s in our boxing knowledge but not as far as Archie Moore. 🙂 I grew up watching the ‘golden age’ of Foreman-Ali-Frazier-Norton, etc. In today’s world UFC/Mixed Martial Arts gets all the coverage. Probably because it’s even more violent…

    1. Funny thing is, UFC fights look weirdly mundane to me, probably because it isn’t as amped up as the Hollywood version of what such a fight would be. Boxing seems to require a whole lot more stamina, at least when the opponents are equally matched. I picked up Joyce Carol Oates ‘On Boxing’ a while back. I hope to fit it in before the end of the year.

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