Poisons Unknown

Killer Covers: Bennett's Beauties: Frank Kane

Lidell is a typical hardboiled PI in the traditional sense. Kane’s tales are easy reading and lots of fun if you like this genre.

Frank Kane’s Johnny Lidell is a tough-talking, tough-acting PI in the old-style hardboiled tradition. In this particular tale, Lidell, who works out of NYC, is hired by a Lousiana mobster to go down to New Orleans and find a missing cult leader. The mobster promises Lidell that Lidell will not merely be fingering the missing cult leader for a kill. Lidell has some misgivings about working for the mobster, but he figures that the mobster did not want the cult leader dead since the blame would fall directly back on him. Once in New Orleans, it turns out that Lidell used to spend a bit of time there five years earlier and left behind a striking blonde who also works as a private investigator and she was a long-term steamy romance for him at one time. After they get reacquainted, they secretly enter the cult temple and witness a drug- induced orgy led by a tall brunette. Lidell later hypothesizes that the cult temple was a setup for a blackmail scheme and for getting society folks hooked on junk.

This Lidell story has everything from the setting in New Orleans to the blonde detective who seems to have spent five long years longing for Lidell’s return. There are fistfights and gangsters here as well as mysterious preachers in the bayou and corrupt back-country sheriffs. It’s a Lidell story and that means that there are shootouts and bodies appearing left and right and Lidell can never be sure who he can rely on and who is after him.

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