I was completely unfamiliar with this series. Understandable. I was fifteen at the time it aired and mostly watched and read science fiction. It only ran for one season and I read elsewhere that Peter Falk said he thought more of it than he did his signature show Columbo. It was a post by Todd Mason that alerted me to it’s existence ans since I collect tie-ins, it was a natural. 

Having never seen the show, I can only review it as a crime novel by one of the great crime writers. Fish’s second novel, MUTE WITNESS, as by Robert Pike, became the Steve McQueen film Bulliitt.

Daniel J. O’Brien is a lawyer that likes to play the horses and throw the dice, gamble in general, and is not very successful at any of them. He owes everybody, has an ex-wife that constantly carps about late alimony in the form of bounced checks, and a secretary he’s always borrowing money from and is behind on her salary. Fortunately for him, he seems to bring out the soft spot in women and stays on their good side. Just barely.

O’Brien gets unwittingly involved in a scheme by an old client of his. Benny Kalen is a three time loser. That he only got a few years on his last conviction instead of a dozen makes no impression. O’Brien should have got him off, therefore he didn’t deserve to get paid.

O’Brien gets suckered by Benny’s wife into being at a bar late one night while Benny and a confederate are pulling a stick-up job on a finance company that had just opened next door.

Thinks go wrong and there’s a dead body. Benny;s parole officer had warned O’Brien that he heard his name mentioned and believes he’s in on the job.

Our lawyer is forced to defend his former client, who swears the man was already dead and the safe broken into when he entered the office, in order to clear his name.

For more forgotten books, drop in over at PATTINASE.

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