MIKE FREDMAN – You Can Always Blame the Rain. St. Martins, US, hardcover, 1980. First published in the U.K. by Paul Elek, hardcover, 1978.

MIKE FREDMAN You Can Aways Blame the Rain

   If Harry Stoner [the PI hero of The Lime Pit, reviewed here not too long ago] can be considered a member of the knighthood for his willingness to rescue damsels in distress, so also should Willie Halliday, the British private eye making his American debut in You Can Always Blame the Rain.

   That both Fredman and Halliday are English may or may not have a great deal to do with it, but the action here is noticeably more refined than much of anything found in Jonathan Valin’s deliberately shocking expose of false Midwestern piety.

    But, needless to say — or I wouldn’t have started this review the way I have — there are similarities. There are pictures, and one of the daughters that Halliday is hired to protect is nude in them — but that is all we are told about them. There are also some references to Moroccan white slave traffic, but perhaps thankfully we are spared any further details.

   Willie Halliday is a vegetarian, by the way, and he neither smokes nor drinks, He is well-versed in the history of Eastern religions, seems to have a good deal of money on his own, and none of the girls he attracts, including his new secretary, ends up in bed with him.

   His first case is entertaining fun, in a quiet, genteel sort of way, but especially in comparison to a book like that of Valin’s, hard-boiled detective buffs are going to end up wondering just what scandal it is that he’s saving the girls from.

Rating:   C.

— Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier,
       Vol. 4, No. 4, July-August 1980 (somewhat revised). This review also appeared earlier in the Hartford Courant.

NOTE: There was a second case in which Willie Haliday is known to have been involved, that one being Kisses Leave No Fingerprints (1979/1980), but nothing has been heard of him since.