Lady--Here's Your Wreath
Lady–Here’s Your Wreath by James Hadley Chase

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Opening Sentence: The boys, who had come to see Vessi die, were lined up before the bar.

Reporter Nick Mason gets offered ten thousand dollars by a mysterious voice on the phone to break open the case of the death of Richmond for whom the wrong guy has been framed. Reluctantly, but with ever increasing curiosity Mason finds himself being sucked into a multi-layered plot with dangerously colorful characters and dangers bigger than he was counting on.

Now this was fun. This was more like the James Hadley Chase I knew who knows how to spin a yarn that can have you confused and curious. Thank the Lord that the female characters in this book have more of a spine than the last couple of Chase novels I read. And no cringe-worthy cliches and dialogues from a demented villain in a wingback chair stroking a cat. Because that has happened in a Chase book before. Now I would be lying if I said I didn’t see the twist coming, and yet still enjoyed it when it came. There were times when I thought the main character seemed to be getting out of situations a lot easier than he should have. There were literally scenarios where he could have died that he casually walked away from. Not even ran away, walked away. Then again maybe because in the context of the story, he was never really a big player, just a nosy one.

What I liked:
Stronger female characters than I’m used to in Chase books
Lack of cliche dialogues
Lack of heroics from the main character, which makes him seem more human
An ending I actually agreed with.

What I didn’t like:
Dangerous scenarios that the protagonist literally walks out of unharmed.
The protagonist, who is supposed to be a writer by profession, seems to lack articulation when talking or thinking. Everything good is “swell” and all women are “dames” and nothing about him seems to indicate he makes his living with words
There seems to be a willingness to be blind to certain odd things happening right in front of the main character’s eyes.

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