Friday, August 8, 2014

The Good Know Nothing: A Tom Hickey Mystery-Ken Kuhlken

The Good Know Nothing: A Tom Hickey Mystery
Ken Kuhlken
Poisoned Pen, Aug 5 2014, $24.95
ISBN 9781464202865

Prior to WWI, Charlie Hickey vanished leaving his family over the next two plus decades to wonder what happened.  In 1936, Bud Gallagher tells Charlie’s son LAPD Detective Tom why his dad disappeared a quarter of a century ago and gives him a manuscript that he insisted Charlie wrote years ago.  A stunned Tom struggles to accept Charlie fled from being framed and that the novel practically is the same as The Death Ship by popular but anonymous B. Traven.

Tom discusses what to do about Bud’s alleged revelations with his sister Florence.  The siblings agree they need to know the truth re the frame and the book with their only hopes being to find and confront their father if he is still alive and Traven if he is not Charlie.  Neither expected the supposedly dead Sundance Kid, Betty Weaver and her gang, and William Randolph Hearst to be involved in their family quest.

The latest Tom Hickey Depression Era mystery (see The Biggest Liar in Los Angeles) is a great entry as Ken Kuhlken deftly blends what happened to Charlie with real people and events.  Fast-paced, armchair readers will feel they travel the southwest with Tom and Florence in one of the best detective novels of the year.

Harriet Klausner

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