Get Blog Posts Via Email

View RSS Feed


FALL GUY by Archer Mayor: Book Review

When the body of a small-time thief is discovered in the truck of a luxury Mercedes, the police see an immediate disconnect.  A search of the car by the Vermont Bureau of Investigation reveals not only a plethora of liquor, silverware, and small pieces of jewelry but, more disturbingly, a cell phone showing child pornography.

The VBI is headed by Joe Gunther, a veteran of many years of policing.  His small staff consists of Willy Kunkle, Samantha Martens, and Lester Spinney, and the four work seamlessly together.

Reading the mysteries in the Joe Gunther series, one has the sense of how an efficient, honorable, and dedicated police force goes about solving crimes.  And although the book covers always say A Joe Gunther Novel, the novels always show more of a collaborative effort, with each of the VBI’s members contributing his or her expertise to arrive at the solution.

Thanks to a new device that reads fingerprints electronically, the corpse is immediately discovered to be Don Kalfus, a Vermonter with a long history of car thefts and burglaries.  Not surprisingly, Kalfus is not listed as the owner of the Mercedes; the car belonged to Lemuel Shaw, a mega-millionaire with a home in nearby New Hampshire.

When Sammie and Lester interview Shaw about the theft of his car, at first he spins a story about how it was taken from in front of his home.  But thanks to the car’s GPS, Sammie tells Shaw they know he’s lying.  The car actually was stolen when it was parked in front of a strip club in Keene, as Shaw reluctantly admits to the two detectives.

After more technological investigation, the New Hampshire police, in cooperation with federal authorities, have located the address of the woman who apparently is the owner of a cell phone found in the Mercedes.  Joe and a New Hampshire police detective knock on the door of the appropriate apartment and are relieved to see the young girl in the cell phone photo answer the door.

When the men enter, they do a quick search and then go to the bedroom where the child tells them her mother is sleeping.  Actually, her mother is awake, as is the man next to her.  In his rush to escape, the man opens the bathroom window and slides down the roof into the arms of waiting officers below.

But what is the connection between Don Kalfus, Lemuel Shaw, the young girl in the photo, and Kalfus’ foster mother?  All have a part to play in this excellent addition to the Joe Gunther series.

Archer Mayor is currently a death investigator for Vermont’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.  Over the past thirty years, he has also been a detective for the Windham County Sheriff’s Office, a volunteer firefighter/EMT, the publisher of his own backlist, and a frequent contributor to magazines and newspapers.  You can read more about Archer Mayor at this web site.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden OldiesPast Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.

Leave a Reply