A 1001 MIDNIGHTS Review
by Art Scott:

HENRY KANE Trinity in Violence

HENRY KANE – Trinity in Violence. Avon 618, paperback original, 1955; reprinted as Avon T-264. Signet G2551, pb, October 1964.

   Here we have three novelettes featuring Henry Kane’s long-running New York detective Peter Chambers. The Chambers stories tend to be pretty routine private-eye capers, but Kane’s handling of this stock material is quite unusual. The characters deliver their lines in a peculiarly arch fashion, which veteran PI fans are equally likely to find either refreshingly novel or plain silly.

   Also, in the midst of typical guns-and-gangsters melees, Chambers is wont to toss off sly asides to the readers, saying, in effect, “How about this for a typical private-eye cliche?” The Chambers books can provide enjoyable light entertainment if the reader finds Kane’s quirky, playful approach palatable.

HENRY KANE Trinity in Violence

   Best of these tales is “Skip a Beat,” with one of those once-popular story ideas you don’t see anymore: A famous newspaper columnist is about to announce that a leading citizen is actually a closet Commie, but he gets knocked off before he can spill it; Chambers cleans it up.

   Slapdash plotting comes to the fore in “Slaughter on Sunday,” in which a prominent hood hires Chambers to extricate him from a murder frame; it involves a sort of locked-room problem (a transparent one, at best), a gimmick for faking paraffin-test results, and several gaping plot holes.

   “Far Cry” finds Kane’s durable “private richard” romancing a hood’s mistress and breaking up a hot-car exporting racket.

HENRY KANE Trinity in Violence

   Some of the better Chambers novels include A Halo for Nobody (1947); Until You Are Dead (1951); Too French and Too Deadly (1955; another locked room opus, better than the one above, but no challenge to John Dickson Carr) and Death of a Flack (1961).

   Chambers’ female counterpart, Marla Trent, appears in Private Eyeful (1960),and the two collaborate in Kisses of Death (1962). Avoid at all costs the dreadful X-rated Peter Chambers novels published by Lancer in the early 1970s!

   Reprinted with permission from 1001 Midnights, edited by Bill Pronzini & Marcia Muller and published by The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, 2007.   Copyright © 1986, 2007 by the Pronzini-Muller Family Trust.

      Previously reviewed on this blog:

The Midnight Man (by Bill Pronzini, 1001 Midnights)
A Corpse for Christmas (by Steve Lewis)
Laughter in the Alehouse (by Al Hubin)
Until You Are Dead (by Steve Lewis)