LESLEY EGAN – A Choice of Crimes. Vic Varallo #10. Doubleday Crime Club, hardcover, 1980.

   Filling out the working hours for the detective squad for the city of Glendale, California, are a series of unsolved motel robberies, a rapist whose favorite haunt is a darkened hospital parking lot, various suicides, and all the other many woes of present-day middle-class suburban America.

   Murder is the name of the game, however. According to recent headlines, an incredible 2300 homicides took place in all of Los Angeles County last year, and some of them are bound to have happened even in a quiet place like Glendale. According to this book, it seems to work out to something like one a day, at the least.

   Receiving most of the attention in this shifting mosaic of cases, switching constantly on and off midstream, are the detective series character team of Vic Varallo and Delia Riordan. Their work is not described as overly glamorous. It consists largely of non-stop checking and cross-checking, interviewing, and endless hours of monotonous legwork.

   Resulting from all this intermittent stop-and-go action is a story without a truly cohesive force to hold it together. The only discernible focal point is the one case Riordan is allowed to work on alone, during whatever spare time she can manage, all the while pondering her choice of life’s career.

   We have learned what to expect from Lesley Egan. Her police procedurals are always competent and always told from the Ronald Reagan side of the fence. Although they don’t always win, the cops are unquestionably the heroes here.

Rating: C Plus.

–Very slightly revised from The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 5, No. 2, March/April 1981.

Bibliographic Notes: Author Elizabeth Linington (1921-1988) wrote 13 books about Vic Varallo as Lesley Egan, 37 books about Lt. Luis Mendoza as Dell Shannon, 12 books about lawyer Jesse Falkenstein and 13 books about Sgt. Ivor Maddox under her own name, plus 7 standalone mysteries under various of these names.