It’s 1953. Springtime. Eisenhower’s in The White House. Jo Stafford’s riding high on Billboard. Audie Murphy and Jimmy Stewart are stars. The Korean War is finally grinding down. It’s a good time to be an American. It’s a good time to be an ex Gyrene. And it’s a good time to be in the Big Apple. So Renny Mack and Buford Messner, long time army buddies out of Brooklyn, set up as private investigators, pounding the streets of Manhattan. But after two years in business things are on the skids. They’re hanging tough, but the shirt collars are threadbare and the suit pants are shiny. Hard up for a buck, and against their better judgment, they take a case with a dusky beauty.
‘So right now, any business was good business. Right? Wrong! But since when did I take my own advice?’
They should have run a mile, but when Babycakes walked through the door, Renny’s scruples went out the window. And that was before the money hit the table.
‘I‘d just taken a sip o’ yesterday’s rebrew ‘n was all puckered up when she walked through the door. Straight past my secretary. Least, straight past where my secretary woulda been if I’d had a secretary. She was world class. All the dips ‘n curves was in the right places. Hair gleamin’, black as coal, piled high on her head. White shirt the colour o’ sunlit ice. Skirt so tight I could see ‘xactly what she was wearin’, 'n ‘xactly what she wasn’t. Red six-inch stilettos. Lips the colour o’ new blood. Perce started doin’ the watusi.’
Renny and Buford crush their doubts and take the case, but are sucked into a murder investigation that quickly spirals out of control. They lurch from crisis to disaster, racing the clock, the danger escalating by the hour.
‘You. Da black bitch. Out here.” Rocco’s accent was thick ‘n clotted. A cold shiver run down my spine. I felt Aphrodite stiffen, but no-one moved.
“I ain’t askin’ again. Get da bitch out here or I put a bullet in Pineapple Head.”
“Then talk ta me. Forget the lady.” Gunny’s voice was hoarse but firm as he took a step towards Rocco.
Rocco was good as his word ‘n Gunny went down with a thud ‘n a loud ‘Holy Jesus!’ Aphrodite screamed. I tried ta push past Bentwood but he jumped forward at the same time. Rocco waved us back with the gun.
“Someone else lookin’ for an education?” he smirked.’
In a vortex of black Irish pigs, deadly dames, clichéd thugs and exploding Dicks they come finally to the end game. Will they solve the case? Will they even survive it?
‘I made a lot o’ mistakes that mornin', but lookin’ back is always easy. Twenty-twenty ‘n all that. I coulda been smarter, that’s for sure, but Perce was in full cry. Between him ‘n the money, Babycakes carried the day. Me? I was just a passenger.’