A penny saved is ridiculous.

A penny saved is ridiculous.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Sure cure for boredom

Once again available to mystery readers via new print and e-book editions, Max Allan Collins' classic Mallory series continues to be a terrific rediscovery. In this second entry in the five-book series, our man Mallory rescues a pretty woman from a brutal assault in a bus station, which all too soon immerses him in a mystery involving dark family secrets, multiple conspiracies, greed, and a rich patriarch (perhaps) trying to atone for past sins. And- oh, yes- there's murder, too, quite a bit of it.

Is Mallory- basically a nice young man home from the Vietnam War and a couple of years of trying out different jobs around the U.S.- up to the task of unraveling a series of deaths that seem to be connected to the richest family in his moderately-sized midwestern town? The author's clean prose and no-nonsense storytelling keep the reader immersed and turning the pages to find out. In fact, if Mr. Collins didn't tell you (in a new introduction penned for this reissued edition), I don't think most readers would guess that this polished, immersive book was written more than forty years ago by a writer still learning his craft.

Oh, one more thing-- Mr. Collins also tells us in his introduction that No Cure For Death was intended to be the first book in the Mallory series, and The Baby Blue Rip-Off the second. However, for various reasons, The Baby Blue Rip-Off was released first and No Cure For Death second, establishing No Cure For Death as the official second entry in the series.  So, though it ultimately doesn't much matter, you might want to read No Cure For Death first, as it's chronologically Mallory's earliest adventure. One or two things happen in this book, including a personal tragedy for Mallory (I won't get more specific), that resonate later in The Baby Blue Rip-Off.

Well, I'm now off to grab book three in the series, Kill Your Darlings, to continue my delightful reacquaintance with a series I haven't read in decades. I had forgotten how much fun dark doings in the American Midwest could be.

No Cure For Death is available for $4.99 on Kindle, or is free to borrow for Amazon Prime members. 


  1. Thanks for this lovely review. FYI, the third Mallory is KILL YOUR DARLINGS. SHROUD (my favorite of the books) is fourth, with NICE WEEKEND FOR A MURDER the final book in the series.

    1. Thank you for the kind comment, and for the correction-- honestly, otherwise I would have read the wrong book next! I've made the correction to both the Kindle Taproom and Amazon versions of my review.