The Lady Kills by Bruno Fischer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I'm surprised that Bruno Fischer didn't receive any coverage in Haut's or O'Brien's books on crime noir. Even in Horsley's The Noir Thriller there is just one mention of Fischer, in the Fatal Women chapter, and it is for this book. And I have to say, Beth Antler, is a femme fatale character in all caps, pretty much a textbook example, you could teach a course on the topic using her as an archetype. The noir protagonist is Simon Field and he's an editor working for the newspaper published by Beth's father. The small town is run by gangsters who control the politicians and the newspaper's editorial page is at war with the corruption, which becomes a bigger focus in the second half of the novel. The first half is all about Simon falling under the spell of Beth, even to the point of covering up a murder for her. The plot complications expand out from there, including a nice twist up at the end. Strong characterization, good plot, and the usual noir trappings. The pace was a bit slower than a lot of the Gold Medal era books, but Fischer was a good writer so the less than break-neck paced sections are still interesting reading. Prologue has an eBook version so this is readily available.
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