The irresistible Jake & Laura return in Michael Murphy’s witty, fast-paced mystery series—perfect for readers of Dorothy Cannell and Christopher Fowler. In The Big Brush-off, the charming and indomitable duo heads to the Midwest to solve a chilling cold case of a young girl’s murder.
Blackie Doyle is dying. That’s what Jake Donovan’s literary agent tells him. Sales are falling, and the rough draft of Jake’s latest Blackie novel doesn’t look promising. Maybe Jake has been distracted by a recent barrage of real-life homicides, or by his marriage to the beautiful up-and-coming actress Laura Wilson, now slated for a part opposite Clark Gable himself. Whatever the reason, Jake decides to return to his roots. Which is why he and Laura hop the next train to the small town in Pennsylvania where Jake once worked as a Pinkerton detective.
Ten years ago, the murder of a teenage girl interrupted life in quiet, God-fearing Hanover. The unsolved case has always gnawed at Jake, and it seems no coincidence that as soon as he starts digging up old ghosts, he’s once again writing like a dervish. Nor is it surprising that some townfolk would rather see the truth stay buried—and maybe even Jake and Laura with it. But the glamorous crime-solving pair refuse to leave before sorting through a bevy of suspects—and at long last nailing the one who almost got away with the not-so-perfect crime.
Praise for The Big Brush-off
“This entry in the series is every bit as much fun as the previous books.”—Reading Reality
“If you like clever repartee mixed with a fun historical whodunit and a bit of glamour mixed in, then this series is going to make your day.”—Popcorn Reads
Praise for Michael Murphy’s Jake & Laura mysteries
“Glittering with a hint of Nick and Nora, Michael Murphy’s 1930s Manhattan provides a witty setting for murder and mayhem.”—Mary Daheim, bestselling author of The Alpine Yeoman, on The Yankee Club
“[Jake and Laura] are fun, witty, and charming, and [All That Glitters] is filled with the same kind of 1930s Hollywood glamour that made the film of The Thin Man such a classic.”—Popcorn Reads
“The third installment in Murphy’s series is just as much fun as the first. The mystery is full of twists with an ample amount of red herrings, suspects, and action.”—Mystery Please!, on Wings in the Dark
Customer ReviewsSee All
Jake and Laura do it again!
The Big Brush-off is number four in Michael Murphy's Jake and Laura mystery series. Although this is a part of a series it is a stand alone with enough information to understand continuity but not so much as to be redundant for a series enthusiast.
In this tale, it is 1935 and we find mystery writer Jake Donovan and his movie starlet wife Laura Wilson in New York City where Laura is just wrapping up shooting on her latest movie. While in New York, Jake is meeting with his publisher, Mildred, to discuss the chapters he has sent her of his latest Blacky Doyle mystery. But the meeting doesn't go exactly as Jake had planned and he has ninety days to present new chapters or his writing career may just be over.
As if that isn't enough of a downer, while in New York the dying mother of the teenage victim he investigated in his final Pinkerton case visits him, asking him to please reopen the case, she needs closure before she dies. The ten year memorial service will be held in small town Hanover, Pennsylvania in just a short time. Jake does not vow to reopen the case, but does promise to attend the ceremony.
With the movie finished and time on their hands, Jake and Laura travel to Hanover on the premise that it is a nice quiet place for Jake to work on his new novel. However, when they arrive in Hanover they don't exactly receive a warm welcome. In fact they are faced by those that strongly encourage them to leave. Ironically, the ones that perhaps should want them out of town are the ones that ask Jake to investigate and remove the shadow of doubt that has followed them ever since Katie's murder.
Fast paced and witty, Jake and Laura tag team to investigate, ruffle a few feathers, and ultimately bring justice for a girl lost too soon and her mother grieving for too long. Kudos to Mr. Murphy for a delightful read and an intriguing mystery series. He takes his place next to the likes of Dashiell Hammett.
One of the Best!
Each of the Jake and Laura books is a great read, and this is one of the best. The scene shifts from the glamour of Hollywood to New York and rural Pennsylvania, Embedded in a great mystery surrounding a decade-old crime is an analysis of the relationship Jake has to the world and to Laura, as his convictions are tested. It is definitely a deeper insight into Jake than previous books in this series.