CARTER BROWN – The Coffin Bird. Signet P4394, paperback original; 1st printing, October 1970. Cover by Robert McGinnis.

   Private eye Danny Boyd is in Hawaii when this 27th of some 39 recorded case files begins. In the hotel room next door is a drop dead red-haired would-be Australian heiress (see the front cover) who hires him to pose as her third fiancé. The problem she needs to have solved? The first two ended up dead before they made it to the altar.

   Were their deaths accidents, or is something else going on? The two of them, Danny Boyd and Marcia Burgess, head off to Australia to find out.

   Boyd manages to get beat up once quite severely after he begins to poke his inquisitive nose around, but he’s the kind of guy who gives as well as he gets. He also has his usual way with women in this one, not that the women have any dimension to them beyond that of a Playboy centerfold. They are described largely by the clothing they wear, and then in even more detail by the parts of their anatomy that are not covered by their clothing.

   Not that Brown doesn’t try to do more in terms of making at least one of his female characters interesting. It seems that the delectable Marcia needs to be spanked with a leather belt before they go to bed, and there never was any doubt that they would, but this seems rather more unwholesome than I’d prefer to read about.

   It’s not much of a case, when it comes down to it, and I suspect that it may be a long while before I tackle another of Danny Boyd’s capers. It ends with a bit of dime store pop-psychology that may impress others more than it did me, or perhaps even myself if the rest of the book before this wasn’t so immodestly uninteresting.