MICHAEL COLLINS – Shadow of a Tiger. Dan Fortune #5. Dodd Mead, hardcover, 1972. Playboy, paperback, January 1979; 2nd printing, October 1981 (shown).

   Michael Collins was the pen named used by Dennis Lynds (1924-2005) when he wrote about his one-armed Manhattan-based PI named Dan Fortune. Until, that is, Fortune packed up and headed for the far sunnier climate of California. Sunnier, but also a state with plenty of opportunity for a good PI to make a better than average living.

   All in all, there were 17 Dan Fortune novels and two short story collections. For much more about the author and a complete bibliography, check out this page on the primary Mystery*File website.

   Fortune was still living in New York City in this book, and in many ways the setting is an inherent part of the story, as he finds himself involved in the murder of a mild-mannered pawnbroker who seemingly had no enemies in the world. But his brother may have, having been much more active in the French resistance during World War II, and his brother has friends and acquaintances who may not be entirely friendly.

   The dead man’s daughter may also be part of the problem that Fortune must solve. She’s recently taken up with a young hoodlum from the far wrong side of the tracks. Figuratively speaking, of course, as the metaphor does not quite apply to Manhattan, but the social and economic boundaries are there all the same.

   Political, social and economic issues are always to the forefront in a Dan Fortune novel, so why should this one be different? What I also enjoyed, and even more so, was the any number of twists in the tale that Dan Fortune must unravel before he’s done with this one, a far better than average left-of-center PI novel. All without preaching. Quite an accomplishment.