KENNETH GAVRELL “Hurricane Force.” Carlos Bannon #10. Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, August 1991.

   Perhaps because that this is the 10th in the series of recorded cases for Puerto Rico-based PI Carlos Bannon, certain assumptions were made, and it takes a while for the first time reader (me) to realize who Raquel is, for example, (his girl friend) and even the fact that his is, in fact, a private eye. He doesn’t have a client in this one. He works on the case of the death of the wife of the couple living in the apartment next door only for his own curiosity.

   What’s also somewhat different about this one is that it takes place during a hurricane, with the woman’s death first attributed to a awning that had come loose during the high velocity winds during the storm, fracturing her skull. Carlos, however, thinks the dead woman’s husband is acting suspiciously, and he follows up on them. It is only that he is friends with the police that saves him from worse trouble himself.

   The story doesn’t have a lot of depth to it, I admit, but it reads very smoothly, and if I ever came across another of Carlos’s adventures, I’d be sure to read it. There were 15 of them altogether, all of them appearing in AHMM between 1980 and 1998.

UPDATE: Kevin Burton Smith, the man behind the Thrilling Detective website, has quite a bit more about Bannon. Since he quotes me on his site every once in a while, I don’t think he’ll mind if I quote him his time around. This will add to the information about Bannon that didn’t come up for me in this particular story:

   “He was born Carlos Bannon Santiago, sole offspring of a Puerto Rican mother and a gringo father. He divided his childhood between Salinas and New York. After a stint in Vietnam doing his duty for Uncle Sam, and a failed marriage, he headed back to San Juan, where he runs a small detective agency. He has a part-time secretary, Maria, who tries her best to keep Carlos honest, and a sometime assistant, Raul, a young guy who handles some of the scut work. And, occasionally, he calls in his girlfriend, Raquel Nieves, for backup. She’s a private detective herself, for the considerably larger Athena Detective Agency.”