bc31b220dca0e02afdbd6010.L._SY300_It’s a welcome return in reading another Johnny Fletcher mystery. It’s been a couple of years since I had a fresh one. SWING LOW, SWING DEAD was published in 1964 and was the last book in the series.

Johnny and his partner Sam Craig are still peddling their exercise books to gullible customers. The patter has changed a bit, Nowadays Craig got his Atlas build from the secret principles of the Aztapache Indians, bestowed on Johnny’s grandfather for a service. A strength demonstration and peddling the booklets until the police came, where a foot race usually followed.

When Johnny gets screwed by a bookie on a horse bet, they fall into a craps game in the man’s hotel room and Sam cleans up, even winning a song the writer put up on a bet. He claimed it was worth a half million. Then promptly loses it on the forty dollar bet. He signs it over and leaves.

Later in the evening, the pair stop for a drink at a bar, to find said songwriter even drunker and raving. He begins singing the song, loudly, only to keel over dead. It was arsenic poisoning!

Besides the bartender , Johnny and Sam, the dead man, the piano player, there was only one other in the bar at that late hour. A man with scars on his face, who hustles out the door.

Suddenly in the music business, after dealing with the cops, They set out to see what they have. And investigate the murder of the songwriter. They are soon inundated with problems. The dead man’s singer/girlfriend wants a piece of the action and has a will that says so(the will is dated the same day as his death: suspicious on the face of it). The bookie with the carps game wants the song(no one wins at his game but him). An ex-chemist/hit man that wants the song. And a crippled(with arthritis) millionaire music publisher wants to buy the song.

Another death pulls Johnny and Sam further in as someone is after them as well.

Another excellent mystery.

For more forgotten books, drop in to PATTINASE on Fridays.

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