Night Lady

Night Lady | Pulp fiction, Vintage book covers, Paperback books

Gault’s Joe Puma PI series is a pulp era series. Gault wrote eight novels in this series, mostly published between 1958 and 1961, with one being published under another name years earlier and one being published decades later in 1982. Puma’s office is in Los Angeles and, rather than be cerebral, he’s an old fashioned tough guy who takes joy in meting out punishment with his fists and giving people a hard time. This series is easy to read and filled with lots of action.

Night Lady takes place along the beachy haunts of Santa Monica and Venice. The story involves professional wrestling, and wrestlers who hang out at muscle beach in Venice, and sometimes cruise both sides of the aisle. In particular, one muscle bound Romeo has a date each night with someone either girl or guy. There’s also murder and rich heiresses and a pair of hoods for Puma to tangle with. Puma challenges notions that professional wrestling was real rather than staged and actually mixes it up with a wrestler who knows all the moves. Puma isn’t quite the cool collected inspector. He looses his cool more than once. Overall, this book constitutes an excellent selection of pulp-era PI fiction, but then again, just about everything Gault published was pretty good. His writing style is easy to get into and the story flows pretty easily.

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