Fainting Goat Press
Tryon, North Carolina
Dear Priscilla is a perfect example of proving that life in Chicago in 1943 had to be difficult. For Merl Cahill, former Chicago Bear who retired from football due to being injured, his life now is quite different since working as a detective on the police force. This is one of those times in history where many of the laws and punishments were not always through the justice system but by those who took it upon themselves to be judge and jury.
Merl has a reputation for his short temper to go with his large size of six foot seven and weighing easily at two hundred eighty pounds. With some obvious facial scars, he also isn’t the prettiest.
Merl’s partner, Fish Biederman finds that being a detective is his third source of income. His most lucrative income is from his bookie business and then singing as either a canter for the Jewish synagogue or for funerals. Fish tends to keep his priorities straight while always keeping his police business in third place.
The two are racing to stop a serial killer who tends to favor killing women of medium height and weight with brown hair. All the women were separated from their heads and then split into seven parts and stuffed in an anonymous army duffel back.
Added to this is an addition to the detective squad, Gloria, who is a wealthy, attractive, and inexperienced with this all male group which tends to make their own laws as they go.
Quickly in this investigation, it is discovered that the killer has some connection with the local newspaper and the “Dear Priscilla” advice column. Through Merl’s sticking his nose in where it doesn’t belong, he ends up writing this advice column and greatly expanding the readership subscriptions by his no-nonsense advice as well as his own income.
This is a down-to-earth old-styled detective novel loaded with realism and humor that equalizes the horrors that the characters experience. Although this is much darker than Mark Schweizer’s liturgical St. Germaine mysteries featuring Hayden Konig, these are definitely written from a masterful storyteller with a unique gift to write in a truly “gritty” style.
For those who just want an enjoyable well-written mystery that keeps you wondering until the last page, read Dear Priscilla.