Figure It Out for Yourself
Figure It Out for Yourself by James Hadley Chase

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My Rating: 3.75
Opening Sentence: One hot June afternoon I was witting in my office at peace with the world, and conscious that the world was, for a change, at peace with me, when Paula put her dark, lovely head around the door to shatter my pipe dream.

What it’s about: Vic Malloy had his life saved on a job and promises the man his services for free anytime he needs it. A few days later the man gets framed for murder and Vic finds himself in the middle of a strange and multi-layered plot with shady players at every turn.

This was fun. It felt like the perfect example of a classic Chase book where the plot keeps you on edge and guessing and you still don’t get all the facts right. The one thing this book can’t be accused of is having weak female characters. Every character felt grounded and forceful. Each had a stronghold and played their part well. The fact that Vic Malloy didn’t sleep with any of them pushes my admiration for both the women and Malloy himself further.
According to Goodreads this is the 2nd Vic Malloy book which is good because this is a character I would like to see again. I don’t know exactly what he really does, for the sake of this story we can say he was an amateur detective, I have the feeling he does whatever you ask of him. Also I really liked his train of thought. He thinks funny, for example:

The bell sounded shrill and urgent and startled me, probably because, up to now, the cabin had been as still and as silent as a poor relation at a wedding.

Kerman and I spent hours at Police Headquarters being questioned and cross-questioned by a furious, purple-faced fist-pounding Brandon and later by two quiet Federal agents who took us apart, laid us on the desk, poked us about with long inquisitive fingers, and weren’t over-fussy how they put us together again.

My yells for help would be as futile as a short-tempered man trying to slam a revolving door.

That last one really had me laughing when I imagined it. Vic had a way of stating things that made me glad to be in his head. Apart from which his assistants, Paula and Kerman, were also good for giving out a few laughs.
One random thing I am beginning to notice from my month of reading James Hadley Chase novels is that everyone smokes in his stories. It’s not even questioned. Any time two characters sit down together, male or female, they share a cigarette with each other without hesitation. That’s pretty cool if you ask me. People aren’t that cool anymore. Wish they were.

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