Thursday, May 21, 2009


By G.G. Fickling
Overlook Press
200 pgs.

Sexy, blond, private eye, Honey West, was created in 1957 by the husband and wife team of Gloria and Forest Fickling. She was a fashion writer and he covered sports; they wrote ten Honey West paperbacks under the pseudonym G.G. Fickling. Honey is notable for being one of the first female private detectives in popular fiction. She inspired a short lived TV series (1965-66) starring Anne Francis and was a very popular heroine until here retirement in 1971.

KISS FOR A KILLER is the sixth book in the series and is typical of most of them. When a professional football player, with whom she once had a fling, is run over by a steamroller, Honey takes it upon herself to get involved with the case, much to the chagrin of Deputy Sheriff, Mark Storm. Soon she’s caught up with a zany bunch of lethal nudists who have a lot to hide in more ways than one. The Fickling’s clearly wrote these as light, comedic tales and were ingenious in just how many times they could get poor Honey out of her clothes.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a couple of truly creepy sequences in this story that are extremely well handled and make the book worth picking up. But be warned, the plot is paper thin and there are so many red herrings sprinkled throughout, it is sometimes hard to keep up with the determined Ms. West. New bodies keep popping up like dandelions on a spring lawn. In the end, Honey solves the case in her own unique style and walks off in the arms of the ruggedly handsome Deputy Storm.

If you are old enough to remember the TV series, you may be surprised by these books, as by the time Honey was brought to the small screen, she’d undergone a serious make-over to dampen her risqué (for that time) nature, although Ms. Francis certainly captured her allure and sensuality. This is the second Honey West book Overlook Press has released, the other being the first in the series, THIS GIRL FOR HIRE. Both are inexpensively priced and if you are looking for some fun, summer reading, you could do a lot worse than meeting Ms. Honey West.

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