Drop Dead, My Lovely

Drop Dead, My Lovely

5.0 2
by Ellis Weiner
     
 

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Meet Pete Ingalls, a private investigator who sets up shop in New York City and commences looking for trouble. He's got all the tough-talking cynicism of a battle-weary gumshoe who's seen it all. Except he hasn't seen it all. In fact, he hasn't seen anything-and remembers even less. In Pete Ingalls's deeply confused mind, he walks the streets like some kind of Philip…  See more details below

Overview

Meet Pete Ingalls, a private investigator who sets up shop in New York City and commences looking for trouble. He's got all the tough-talking cynicism of a battle-weary gumshoe who's seen it all. Except he hasn't seen it all. In fact, he hasn't seen anything-and remembers even less. In Pete Ingalls's deeply confused mind, he walks the streets like some kind of Philip Marlowe clone. And everyone he meets thinks he's putting them on. Lucky for Ingalls, he's got a secretary-Stephanie Constantino, an aspiring actress in need of a day job. She's got a mouth that doesn't quit-with Ingalls, his clients, cops, or killers. But she has nice gams, and (unlike her boss) a real talent for solving crimes. It's Pete Ingalls' first case-and whodunit is only half the story.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In his satiric first novel, humorist Weiner (The Joy of Worry) pokes fun at the private eye genre with mixed results. When Pete Ingalls comes to after being knocked unconscious by a pile of books in a Manhattan bookstore, he remembers only the hard-boiled detective novels he's read. He rents an office, dresses in 1940s-style clothing and hires small-time actress Stephanie Constantino to be his secretary. Mysterious, elusive Celeste Vroman asks him to find her missing married lover, attorney Jeffrey Litman. A second client, Catherine Flonger, wants Ingalls to discover if her husband, a famous TV news anchor, is seeing another woman. Blundering, na ve and inept, Ingalls nonetheless easily locates Litman, who confesses he's spurned Celeste for "class skirt" Olivia Cartwright, whose strangled body turns up in a seedy hotel room in the "prologue" that falls between chapters one and two. Mrs. Flonger makes finding her husband almost too easy. Breezy, often funny, this uneven book is rife with silly puns. When Stephanie tells Ingalls she's playing Viola in Twelfth Night, he quips, "Playing the fiddle while you're acting?" But there's some good writing, too: one character "had the pale, smooth skin of a man who went outside principally to hail cabs." Weiner clearly owes a debt to P.G. Wodehouse (a passage from The Code of the Woosters serves as an epigraph), but here he lacks the British master's sure comic touch. (Mar. 2) Forecast: A former Spy columnist, National Lampoon editor, and New Yorker and Paris Review contributor, Weiner is well positioned to promote this novel to his fans. A blurb from Robert B. Parker will help persuade mystery readers who normally avoid broad humor to give it a try. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780451214089
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/28/2005
Series:
Pete Ingalls Series, #1
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.42(w) x 8.02(h) x 0.64(d)

Meet the Author

Ellis Weiner was an editor of National Lampoon and a columnist for Spy. He has written humor pieces for The New Yorker, Paris Review, New York Times Magazine, Air & Space, and Modern Humorist. He is the author of The Joy of Worry (illustrated by Roz Chast), Decade of the Year, Letters From Cicely, and The Northern Exposure Cookbook, and is the co-author with Sydney Biddle Barrows of Mayflower Manners.

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5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a hard-boiled spoof of the wise-cracking detectives in the Dashiell Hammett vein. It is hilarious because the protaganist is the only one living in this imaginary world and no around him is quite sure what to make of him and his 1940's dialogue. I loved it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
When he wakes up in the hospital, Pete Ingalls thinks he¿s a private investigator and talks like a gumshoe out of a forties film. He has no memory of being a mild mannered hermetic bookstore clerk who had an accident when a pile of books fell on his head. His friend thinks he is putting him on but when he leaves the hospital, he opens up a PI office, places an ad in the newspaper, prints some business cards, and hires a secretary who wanders if her boss is legitimate or crazy. Actually Pete has two walk in cases that he eagerly grabs up. The first one involves Celeste Vroman who wants Pete to find her lover Jeff Litman who seems to have disappeared. He finds Jeff hiding at his office avoiding Celeste because he started an affair with Olivia Cartwright. His second case involves Catherine Flonger who thinks her TV reporter husband is cheating on her and wants proof. Neither case goes smoothly. Jeff disappears, Olivia is found murdered and Pete has a quickie with Catherine in a women¿s dressing room. It goes downhill from there.

What makes DROP DEAD, MY LOVELY an outstanding reading experience is the hero is suffering from amnesia yet effortlessly becomes a private investigator modeling himself on tough PI¿s like Same Spade and Spencer. There is plenty of action because Pete manages to get himself in a lot of trouble while working on cases yet the best part of Ellis Weiner¿s novel is the dialogue. Pete sounds like an anachronistic Phillip Marlow clone in a twenty-first century context and that makes for a hilarious novel.

Harriet Klausner