Green Light For Death

Green Light For Death: Kane, Frank: Books

Green Light For Death (1949) is the second of thirty Johnny Liddell private eye novels that Frank Kane published over a twenty-year period. Kane had immense talent at writing easily readable yarns.

This one takes Liddell from New York City up to some small town, obstensibly in upstate New York and introduces the reader to a classic pulp motif of the small town with the crooked police chief in cahoots with the local hood/nightclub owner. Although this particular take on the detective novel has been many times, Kane manages to make it feel fresh. Since this particular novel does not take place in the city, there’s no place for galpal reporter Mugsy in the storyline. Nevertheless, Liddell manages to get involved with the local press in Waterville and to find the one honest lawman in town to back his play. Of course, the story is filled with murders, corruption, hoods, chorus girls, cigarette girls, and all manner of gunslingers.

This story takes Liddell out on his own following a call from an old friend, who had been a Broadway star, but now had disappeared into this small town, working in the local ginmill, at least until she called Liddell to help her. But, before he got find out what the trouble was, she was found floating in the river. With her clothes neatly folded on the pier, the locals are all too willing to call it suicide or accident, but Liddell isn’t buying that story. It just doesn’t work.

This is just a terrific read and, if you are looking for old style detective tales and one man tilting at windmills until justice is done, there can be no more satisfying a read.

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