A Mitch Tobin Mystery
The first patrol car was there in seven minutes. They were both young and already beginning to be a little too heavy in the torso; riding in the car so much is what does it. When I saw them I felt a surprising embarrassment, one I hadn’t expected. All three of us were in uniform, theirs dark blue and mine a medium gray, and although mine was quiet and restrained, I nevertheless felt dressed up like a parody of them, a burlesque cop. The old phrase “You don’t deserve to wear the uniform” went through my head, and of course that was it, the same guilt about Jock in yet another way.
One of them said, “We had a report on a death.”
Mitchell Tobin, the disgraced ex-cop of Tucker Coe’s Wax Apple and A Jade in Aries, is again at the center of this most original thriller; once more he becomes entangled in the affair which, years ago, had brought about his disgrace. He was sacked from the New York police force because, when he should have been on duty, he was in the arms of another man’s wife, and as a result his partner and friend had been killed. Ever since, his feelings of guilt and shame have kept him a a standstill, in spite of the loyal backing of his wife Kate.
He takes odd jobs here and there, and currently he is a night guard at a Manhattan museum. One night, his ex-mistress, Linda Campbell, enters his life again, to beg him to help her husband: a gang of crooks are putting pressure on him to join them. Mitch agrees, and phones an old friend on the police force to “lean on” the gang.
That same night he comes upon the naked body of a strangled man in the museum. The murder cannot have any connection with Linda’s visit,Mitch Tobin decides, so he lies to the detectives on the case–for Linda’s sake, and Kate’s, and his own. But in consequence he finds himself equally at odds with crooks and police.
– From the jacket of the Gollancz hardcover edition (UK, 1974)