Thursday, November 6, 2008



Fiddler, created by A.E. Maxwell (the husband and wife writing team of Ann and Evan Maxwell), is another of the one-named private eyes who bobbed up in the wake of Robert Parker’s eponymous Spenser series.Fiddler is a low-key, yet lethal Southern California gumshoe who is definitely into the finer things in life, including his 427 cubic inch dark blue Ford Cobra and his ex-wife Fiora (she was supposed to be named Fion, but somebody screwed up her birth certificate).

Fiddler has a murky past involving smuggling drug smuggling with his Uncle Jake. When Uncle Jake gets popped, Fiddler decides it’s a good time to hand his ill-gotten gains over to his investment savvy ex-wife wo is still his occasional lover.

Established financially, Fiddler now takes life at an enjoyable pace – only ‘fiddling’ with cases of interest in which he can help an underdog get out from under.

There is some tendency toward over indulgence in the series, especially in the portrayal of Fiddler’s lifestyle, but overall the series was very well written and I was always on the lookout for the next book. Eventually, however, the character of Fiddler slowly changed from violent-loner-out-to-change-the-world-for-the-better to a yuppie version of Nick and Nora Charles of Thin Man fame (something Spenser and Susan Silverman are also sliding toward). Still, the early books in the series are excellent.Despite it’s convoluted and dated plot, the original Fiddler story, Just Another Day In Paradise, remains an excellent read.

Cool, sexy, and sophisticated, Fiddler wasn’t born to be a private eye – he evolved into one with predatory grace. He isn’t in the game for the money, he has plenty of that, he’s just trying to even the score for people who deserve a better break; people like his beautiful ex-wife Fiora, a woman as at home in a boardroom as she is in a bikini. They were divorced for irreconcilable differences – differences which never presented themselves in the bedroom.

Now she’s in trouble and Fiddler smells high stakes.The golden coast of Southern California and the dollar green if Silicon Valley form a backdrop as Fiddler unearths a deadly scheme to smuggle a super sophisticated microchip factory behind the Iron Curtain, piece by classified piece. Almost too late, Fiddler finds he’s playing third violin to Fiora’s ne’er-do-well brother Danny and his mysterious European partner, Volker – a man who’s playing footsie with Fiora.

Their company, Omnitronix, has been supplying the computer goods that have the heat going full blast. The last item to be shipped, the sine qua non of the factory, has been stolen by someone who belongs neither to Omnitronix, the United States, nor the Soviet Union.

Enter the FBI, CIA, and KGB, to find Fiddler holding a corpse that’s not talking and a bag of Russian diamonds.Poised on the cutting edge of other people’s lives, Fiddler finds himself racing to save too more: Fiora and his own.

Just Another Day In Paradise —1985
The Frog And The Scorpion —1986
Gatsby's Vineyard —1987
Just Enough Light To Kill —1988
The Art Of Survival —1989
Money Burns —1991
The King Of Nothing —1992
Murder Hurts —1993

1 comment:

pattinase (abbott) said...

Wonderful review and I love the title.