IT’S ABOUT CRIME, by Marvin Lachman


W. GLENN DUNCAN – Rafferty: Poor Dead Cricket. Gold Medal, paperback original, 1988.

   Poor Dead Cricket is the third in a series about Rafferty, a Dallas private eye. Having propounded many of Lachman’s Laws myself, including the first, “Never read a book with a Swastika on the cover,” which Jon Breen once quoted in EQMM, I was glad to see that Duncan thinks similarly, and he gives many of Rafferty’s Rules, such as (#39) “Smiting the wicked sounds biblical, but mostly it’s just good clean fun.”

   So is this book, about a decent, albeit wise-cracking detective who gets involved in an environmental case similar to the one involving Karen Silkwood. Rafferty does an excellent job in reconstructing the character of Cricket Dawes, who is killed before the book begins, and he sorts out the good and bad people while nicely imparting the flavor of Texas and its speech.

— Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier,
Vol. 11, No. 1, Winter 1989.

       The Rafferty series

Rafferty’s Rules (1987)    Film: Cinepix, 1992, as Snake Eater III: His Law.
Last Seen Alive (1987)
Poor Dead Cricket (1988)
Wrong Place, Wrong Time (1989)
Cannon’s Mouth (1990)


Fatal Sisters (1990)    [Winner, Shamus award, Best Paperback Original, 1991]

   Some of Rafferty’s Rules are listed here on the Thrilling Detective website. Here are a couple of good ones:

11. To feel really dumb, be a smart ass once too often.

16. When you can’t tell the bad guys from the good guys, it’s time to get the hell out.