THOMAS B. DEWEY – The Brave, Bad Girls. Mac #5. Simon & Schuster, hardcover, 1956. Permabooks M-3089, paperback, 1957. Carroll & Graf, paperback, 1985.

   If you like detective work along with your hard-boiled PI fiction, this may be the book for you. But as a all-out recommendation, this statement comes with a bit of a caveat. The plot is extremely complicated, and the fact that Mac, the only name that he goes by, doesn’t tell the reader everything he notices or is thinking, doesn’t help any.

   The women in the case: (1) his client, Sherry, a young girl who is going out with a married musician against her father’s wishes; (2) Miss Colby, the principal of the school where one of her staff, Lorraine, is a teacher and whose past life is being looked into and she, Miss Colby, doesn’t like it; (3) Lorraine herself, who is married to but separated from the musician that Sherry is seeing; (4) Trudy, her young precocious daughter; (5) Esther, Lorraine’s sister, who has generally been in charge of bringing up Trudy; and (6) Georgiana, also a PI, who agrees to give Sherry shelter after Mac finds her with a dead man on her hands.

   As I say, complicated. The best part of the book, though, is the extreme interrogation that Mac undergoes at the hands of the police which extends from page 150 to 190. That Mac stays faithful to his clients and his principles is an understatement.

   There were 16 “Mac” novels in all, published between 1947 and 1970. I’ve enjoyed all of them that I’ve read, including this one. After reading this one, though, I realize that I haven’t read nearly enough of them.