ALEX SAXON – A Run in Diamonds. Carmody #1. Pocket, paperback original; 1st printing, November 1974. Expanded from the story “The $50,000 Bosom,” Adventure, December 1970. Included in Carmody’s Run (Dark Harvest, hardcover, 1993) as by Bill Pronzini, along with three stories from Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine which appeared there also under the author’s own name. This latter book was reprinted by the Detective Book Club in a hardcover 3-in-1 edition.

   In spite of my affection for Bill Pronzini’s nameless private detective, enhanced no end by the latter’s love affair with Black Mask and the other detective pulps he collects, I find Carmody a more original creation, seemingly more free of the cliches of his particular subgenre.

   Carmody is a freelance contract man, providing bodyguards, new identities, black market commodities, what have you. Since his divorce he has moved his theater of operations from San Francisco to Europe and a villa in Majorca, which is where this adventure begins.

   Stolen diamonds are involved, which should be obvious from the front cover on. Somebody wants Carmody out of the way for a while, and a wild goose chase takes him to Amsterdam while dirty business is going on elsewhere. Carmody’s business success relies greatly on his reputation, and any embarrassment he received he must take as a personal matter.

   And revenge he gets. A number of deaths result, though not all at his hand. It’s an earthy, violent tale, just complicated enough to keep you guessing, and suspenseful enough to make one relish every minute of successful retribution to the disrespectful enemy.

   Carmody has previously appeared in a number of shorter stories, in magazines such as Alfred Hitchcock’s, but as far as I know this is his only novel. I sort of wonder if Pronzini had put his own name on it, whether this might have made more of an impression when it came out.

   Here’s the highest compliment I can give a book: this is the kind of tale I would write if I could.

— Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 1, No. 6, November 1977 (very slightly revised).