Brandy and Vivian Borne (not to mention cover-dog Sushi) are back in action, and this time they're taking Manhattan as they go to a comics convention where they hope to sell their Superman drawing, obtained in the previous volume of this very funny and entertaining series.
The book begins with Chapter Two, which explains why there's no Chapter One, and I think any crime writer will get a kick out of it. I also got a kick out of their occasional comments about keeping things clean in hopes that the series will make into the nation's Walmarts.
The con's awards are shaped like pens, and it isn't long before Brandy and Vivian, ever the lucky ones, stumble onto the body of the con organizer, who's been stabbed by one of the awards. This leads to investigation and hilarity, not to mention a bit of a coincidence, when the lead detective turns out to be the brother of Brandy's boyfriend, Tony, now in the Witness Protection Program. He's all too familiar with Vivian's love of inserting herself into murder investigations.
This one leads in a surprising direction when it appears that the Mob might be somehow involved, and that leads to some great scenes with Vivian confronting mobsters in a strip club and, best of all, the Big Boss in a nursing home.
You probably know that Barbara Allan is Barbara and Max Allan Collins. I've mentioned several books in this series here on the blog, and if you haven't read it yet, it's about time you started. The mysteries are solid, the characters are the kind you'll like to read about (you might not want to spend much time with them in person), there are lots of laughs, and the writing has pizzazz. Check it out.