by George Axelrod
Hard Case Crime
The covers on this book informed us that writer, George Axelrod, wrote some fairly well known movie scripts; The Manchurian Candidate, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and the Seven Year Itch. When I first read this, I wondered at the disparity of the genres. Consider they range from tense, no-nonsense political thriller to a lighthearted romance and an off-the-wall, goof-ball comedy.
What happens with Blackmailer is that Axelrod incorporates many of these unlikely elements and the result is a disappointing stew with little to recommend it. As a murder mystery, it begins well and introduces us to some colorful,
The pacing of the book is quick and it is an easy read, if unconvincing one. There are several problems with Blackmailer that are unredeemable. The book is terribly dated. Mysteries like this back in the 50s were common and figuring out who-done-it doesn’t require any effort at all. Never mind that that book’s actual cover serves to offer that solution immediately. Consider the tag line, “She Was Born Bad.” Since there are only two female characters in the plot, one blonde and the other a brunette…well. Were this a femme-fatale offering, that could be forgiven, but it is not. In this case it’s window dressing to disguise a lackluster offering.
It is extremely rare that any Hard Case Crime will miss the bulls-eye, bad sadly Blackmailer does.