Allen J. Hubin

ROBERT B. PARKER – Perchance to Dream. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, hardcover, 1991. Berkley, paperback, 1993.

   I know I should have boned up on Raymond Chandler before tackling Perchance to Dream, Robert B. Parker’s sequel to Chandler’s The Big Sleep. But I didn’t, and my reading of Chandler was so long ago I can make no comparisons. I can say that, on its own, I found Perchance a wholly delightful treat.

   Philip Marlowe is called back to the Sternwood mansion. General has died, but Vivian Sternwood still lives there. And her psychopathic sister Carmen, tucked away among the white coats in Sleep, has gone missing from Resthaven Sanitorium. So Marlowe goes looking.

   Resthaven is run by a sleazeball doctor named Bonsentir, who is so well connected that police bow and scrape and wag their tails. Vivian has a gangster bedmate named Eddie Mars, and he’s mixed up in this as well. Marlowe is not easy to discourage, though various folks try in their own nasty ways, and he’s likely either to get dead or to the bottom of what’s going on…

   Smooth of action, full of good lines and sharp images, this went down in one satisfying gulp.

— Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier,
       Vol. 13, No. 2, Spring 1991.