RICHARD C. SMITH – A Secret Singing. James Maxfield Mallory #1. Dutton, hardcover, 1988. Signet AE5969, paperback, September 1989.

   The problem with this book is that there are too many lawyers in it. While its hero, John Maxfield Mallory, is a PI, he’s also a Harvard grad who went to law school for a year. His lady friend Julie is an up-and-coming corporate attorney. Some of his best contacts are lawyers. Even one of his prime suspects (a case of murder) is a lawyer.

   And it’s no wonder, since author Richard C. Smith is a lawyer himself, and the story he tells in A Secret Singing takes place a long way from Boston’s nastier streets. This urban, citified PI adventure hints at only a few of the upper class’s darkest secrets, however. Spenser has nothing to worry about.

–Reprinted from Mystery*File #18, December 1989, slightly revised.

Bibliographic Note:  Mallory’s second and final case outing was Wild Justice (St. Martin’s, 1990; no paperback edition).