LOREN D. ESTLEMAN “Robber’s Roost.” Short story. PI Amos Walker. First published in Mystery, April 1982. Collected in General Murders (Houghton Mifflin, hardcover, 1988) and Amos Walker: The Complete Story Collection (Gallery Books, hardcover, 2010).

   This was Amos Walker’s first appearance in short story form. While I have both hardcover collections, I read this one in its original magazine form, at the time when, according to the introduction, Estleman had written only two novels about Walker, his long running Detroit-based PI. (I don’t know whether he’s still active. From the information I have, he last appeared in The Lioness Is the Hunter (2017).

   This one’s a good one, based on the crime-ridden history of Michigan’s largest city. He takes a job from a long-retired cop in a nursing home who wants to find out what really happened to his adopted brother when he died some 50 years before. His car apparently fell through the ice while making a bootlegging run while crossing the river into the US from Canada. He’s positive that Eddie was killed by his boss, a former racketeer now also still alive, and he wants Walker to put him in prison.

   There is, of course, more to the story than that, but finding out what really did happen takes all of Walker’s skills as a detective. The story’s breezily told, maybe just a tad too breezily, but only a curmudgeon would cavil at such a small thing as that. Fans of PI stories who haven’t yet caught up with Amos Walker have a real treat coming.