While I normally don't read fiction anymore, after reading my first H. P. Oliver book, I enjoyed his writing so much that I bought and read all of them.
Johnny Spicer is a shamus that is after my own heart and it was good to see he was still on the job. I hope Johnny will be around more to share his adventures as a Private Investigator with a nose for trouble and beautiful women.
Private Eye. 1940 Los Angeles
A detective sprinter in and around the Los Angeles of 1940. Johnny Spicer, your dynamic private eye. A certain brilliant actress for a client whose first name is Bette.
Car chases, and a master class in tailing by automobile. The author squeezes in descriptions of the cars of that period, and the deco architecture.
Corruption, a poisoned dart, one maladjusted small-town cop, murder, and a car bomb. It might help if you hear Artie Shaw's version of 'Harlem Nocturne' in your mind while reading all this. Best story I've read this year.
~Brian R. Lemaire
Another Great Read From H.P. Oliver
H. P. Oliver's Tembo is yet another great mystery in his Johnny Spicer series. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I couldn't put it down until I got to the end, and that ending is typical of H. P. Oliver's writing skill--I had no idea what was coming!
I have enjoyed all of this author's books, so much so that when a friend said she wanted some mysteries to read during an upcoming long trip, I ordered all of H. P. Oliver's books for her . . . not just the Johnny Spicer ones, but his other books as well. I know she'll find them as enjoyable as I have.
Every time I finish one of these books, I can't wait until the next one appears.
Entertaining Mystery, Engaging History, and Witty PI Spicer
The missing objet d'art, the Ivonya-Ngia Tembo statuette, a little elephant, caused so much mayhem. No personality conflicts driving animosity, blowgun darts, bullets, a rattlesnake booby-trap, explosions and murders - just a search for a little, albeit expensive, object.
The pacing is good, compelling in that it was difficult to pick a place to stop -- smooth storytelling. The story develops rapidly, but HPO also makes the characters real and interesting as people.
H.P. Oliver has hit the groove with Private Detective Johnny Spicer, an enjoyable period persona that a reader of the series has come to know. Characters integral to Spicer's personal and business life are also nicely developed – we learn more about girlfriend Susan Jackson and her work as a nurse; the relationship with newcomer Sergeant Salvino starts out slightly antagonistic and develops into grudging trust.
The portrayal of Bette Davis in 1940 is what I would have expected her to be like, based on my limited knowledge of her early career. Clearly HPO has done his research to hit the salient traits and to successfully weave her into the mystery.
The details of the era are excellent. HPO’s historical mysteries always make me a little awestruck about how much things have changed, and how quickly time passes – what was new is now a protected landmark, or succumbed to demolition.
HPO brings the period back to life as the chase for Tembo laps southern, northern and central California. Flying in a DC-3 over the Central Valley, having dinner at El Rancho, the grand building architecture of the early 20th century, automobiles, the music that defined that generation…and check out HPO’s Visualizations online for the coolest 1940 hotel room at the Shangri-La.
The mystery is entertaining, the history engaging, with witty PI Spicer once again leading the way.