Saturday, December 7, 2013

Book Review: Five Quickies for Roger and Suzanne by Jerrold Last

Five Quickies for Roger and Suzanne

By Jerrold Last
Publisher: Jerrold Last
Published: Sept. 16, 2013

Amazon Synopsis:

“Five Quickies for Suzanne and Roger” is an anthology of shorter stories featuring all of the characters from their popular South American mystery series of novels. In this novel-length collection, our private detectives solve cases in Montevideo, Uruguay; Fortaleza, Brazil; and Los Angeles, California in a novella, a novelette, and three short stories---five quickies. Three obvious murder victims, two additional dead bodies, and a mysterious dog 

add spice to these stories. The five stories give you five times as many chances to see if you can deduce whodunit before Roger and Suzanne do. Good luck.

Book Links:

My Thoughts:

This is an anthology of 5 stories of shorter length from novelette length to short story. Each one is about Roger Bowman, a private detective, who once was a patent lawyer and a police detective. The first of the five stories The Empanada Affair takes places in Argentina. Three of the stories take place in Los Angeles and the fifth story “The Haunted Gymnasium” takes place in Fortaleza, Brazil. Most of the stories have some kind of connection to South America

The stories were all interesting in the Jerrold Last solved the cases in each one. They kind of reminded me of Perry Mason where you follow the detective around and collect the clues with him. Then at the end, he is able to announce the perpetrator of the crime, and then explains how he figured it out.

Of the five stories, the The Empanada Affair was my least favourite. I believe this was one of Mr. Last’s first novellas, and it shows. I thought this novel read somewhat like a travel guide as there were long stretches of narrative that described the city and the history of the place as well as the tourist attractions. These things didn’t really have anything to do with the story.

My favourite story was The Dog with No Name in which Roger Bowman’s first client was a dog that walked into his office and led him to his owner’s home. Bowman had to break into the owner’s home where he found the owner unconscious on the floor.

This story was written out of sequence with the other Roger and Suzanne mysteries, but that aside, it is a lovely story that Roger tells to his son’s kindergarten class.  If you love dogs, you will definitely like this story.

Someone Did It to the Butler and The Body in the Parking Structure are well-written who-dunnit mysteries. I tried to guess who the guilty person was before Roger solved the case and I wasn’t able to, but once he explained his reasoning, it made perfect sense.

 The Haunted Gymnasium will intrigue you if you like ghost stories. This one is filled with martial arts.

These stories were a lot of fun to read. It was nice to get to know the characters better through several stories. The language is clean in each of these stories, there is no explicit sex, however, there is a gay male nanny (just so you aren’t surprised).

I gave this anthology a rating of 4 stars.

Thank you to the author Jerrold Last for providing a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.  I was not required to provide a positive opinion. All thoughts are my own.

About the Author:

The author is a scientist on the faculty of the University of California and a big fan of California mystery novels. He taught a popular Freshman Seminar on California Mystery novels for several years at U.C. Davis. A quick search of Amazon will turn up technical books and articles in biochemistry previously edited or authored by Jerry. The novels in his Roger Bowman-Suzanne Foster South America mystery series, The Ambivalent Corpse, The Surreal Killer, The Matador Murders, and The Deadly Dog Show are all available as Kindle e-books. So are the shorter novella, The Body in the Bed, and novelette, The Body in the Parking Structure. An anthology of short stories entitled Five Quickies For Roger And Suzanne, his most recent novel-length book, is also available on Amazon. Reader feedback for all of these books is appreciated, so please take a few minutes to write a review of the books after you finish reading them.

The settings and locales for all of the South American mystery novels, The Ambivalent Corpse, The Surreal Killer, and The Matador Murders are authentic; the author lived previously in Salta, Argentina and Montevideo, Uruguay for several months each, and selected several of the most interesting locations he found for Roger and Suzanne to visit. The Ambivalent Corpse take place in Montevideo and several of the countries surrounding Uruguay. The Surreal Killer visits Northern Chile's Atacama Desert and Peru. The Matador Murders revisits Montevideo and visits Santiago, Chile, where the author has visited several times for collaborative research and teaching. The novelette The Body in the Bed (Montevideo) and two of the Five Quickies, The Empanada Affair (Salta, Argentina) and The Haunted Gymnasium (Fortaleza, Brazil) also feature South American locales.

Jerry and his wife Elaine live in Northern California, where Elaine breeds prize-winning German Shorthaired Pointer dogs and enjoys being a grandmother to three granddaughters and a grandson. The author's blog describing the background and birth of Jerry's books; Jerry, Elaine, and the dogs' lives; and all things mysterious can be found at Please visit it and take a look. 

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