Jeopardy Is My Job by Stephen Marlowe, © May 1962, Gold Medal 1962 paperback, mystery featuring Chester Drum
I picked this up at the L.A. paperback show, Lessercon, a few years back and finally got around to taking it off the shelf to read during a recent trip. I finished it up when I got home.
Drum is hired by “the Governor”, his superior, to find his adult son, who has gone missing in Spain. As the search gets underway, Drum is put off by the lifestyle of American expatriates living on the Costa Del Sol, and wonders if the missing son has simply melted into this live-for-today group. As he digs deeper, however, he uncovers widespread smuggling. It’s used as a form of investment: give some money to an “agent” to invest with a smuggler, get your dividend which is a share of the profits of the shipment.
He also discovers the missing man’s beautiful daughter, who is in love with a local bull fighter, is involved up to her pretty neck and seems to know a lot more than she’s admitting. With few clues to follow, in true hardboiled P.I. fashion Drum has to poke his nose in wherever he can to sniff out motive and try to figure out where the missing man may have gone—and whether he is alive or dead.
This is an entertaining P.I. novel, and the setting, typical of Drum novels set around the world, provides a nice change from big-city grit. Though I suspect this isn’t the best of the series, I like the character of Drum and have more of these on the shelf. You might try one.
I do like that cover and the story sounds good. I thought I had something by this author, but I don’t. I will look around for one of his books.
I think this is one of the better ones.
I first discovered Chet Drum when he teamed with Richard Prather’s ShelL Scott in DOUBLE IN TROUBLE and I happily started collecting Marlowe’s books. I still have several of his mainstream novels to read and, because of this review, will be getting to them sooner than later. Thanks, Rick.
I liked that one too, Jerry. I’ve read several of the Chester Drum books, this may be my favorite, but there are many left to read, if I ever get to them.
What Jerry said. I liked the collaboration with Prather too and have always meant to go back and read more of these.
At one time these were plentiful in used book stores, not so much these days, as the used book stores are mostly gone.
I’m a fan of Stephen Marlowe’s work. The Drum books, with their international settings, stand out among the dozens of Private Eyes that populated the paperbacks of the 1960s. Stephen Marlowe also wrote a fair amount of Science Fiction which I enjoy, too.
Yes, the settings make these more interesting. His SF is fairly quirky, I think.
I haven’t read Stephen Marlowe yet, though I’d love to lay my hands on a book with a cover like that and read it straight away. I’d be surprised if I came across any of these paperbacks in my neck of the woods.
I suspect you’re right on that, Prashant. They’re hard enough to find here in the States.