Crag Banyon is your typical private eye. Money’s always short, he has a dimwit, sort of, secretary, a cop who hates him, and he drinks a lot. He also has an assistant, an elf named Mannix, and some of the weirdest clients going.
He gets visited by a client who at first glance is eight feet tall. A second loook shows the pointed hat, with stars and a crescent moon, takes up a quarter of that. He introduces himself as Merlin, “Call me Merle,” and wants to hire Banyon for a bodyguard job. Not his usual thing, But Banyon rarely turns down a paying gig.
The Queen of the island nation of Albion is visiting and he wants a civilian presence among the horde of police security. He’s paid with a large ruby for an afternoon’s work. The queen has rued since 1798.
Of course things go downhill from there.
Someone tries to kill the queen, Banyon catches someone following him later and when that is revealed, the person, a hooded figure, begins casually tossing SUVs at our hero. When he wants to wash his hands of the whole business, the ruby has a curse that haves his fee each day until he protects the royal family. When the fee has been reduced to almost nothing, the curse begins working on his life.
No choice for Banyon.
This latest entry from James Mullaney, one of my favorite writers, is full of small touches such as a reference to Bewitched, mention of an old case involving a bear protecting his cave from a blond intruder who eas the family’s porridge, sleeps in their beds, and gets blown away by shotgun, the bear and his family backed by the NRA.
So much more in this fine series. It can be ordered HERE.