MURDER IN YIDDISH
by Isidore Haiblum
(St. Martin’s, 1988)

Reviewed by Sue Feder

This is a first venture into PI fiction from the author, who has
previously written science fiction.  There’s a lot going on in this book --
a lot of characters, a lot of coincidences, a lot of interwoven story lines
(accounting for the characters and coincidences), and a lot of really snappy
and funny dialog.  The numbers of characters might make you wish for a
checklist to keep them all straight, the coincidences may set your teeth  on
edge, but the dialog will keep you smiling and reading right along.  James
Shaw, who inherited agency from his uncle, is working on a case in which the
guy he is shadowing is only slightly more mysterious than the guy who is
paying him.  He interrupts his surveillance to aid an elderly neighbor, and
when that lady dies he’s got a suspicious cop and a disgruntled client to
mollify.  The fun really starts when the guy who mugged the neighbor is
found dead in the apartment of the guy Shaw is trailing.  This one is
quirky, but I liked it.

 

BAD NEIGHBORS
by Isidore Haiblum
(St. Martin’s, 1990)

Reviewed by Sue Feder

Wise-cracking James Shaw returns to teach us a bit more Yiddish and
come to the rescue of some poor folks getting the short end of a wicked real
estate deal.  Some very old and ugly men are trying to force the tenants out
of some even older and uglier buildings, and the harassment gets carried
away.  New York City’s police and  bureaucracy is portrayed at its ‘finest’.
This follow-up did not disappoint me.