LA DONNA DETROIT: A Detective Sergeant Mulheisen Mystery by Jon A. Jackson
Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000
Humphrey DiEbola is tired of his job as head of the Detroit mob. Still, it isn't an easy job to walk away from. First, he has responsibilities and needs to make sure the whole thing won't collapse. Second, Detective Sergeant Mulheisen has been messing around and won't stop trying to track his connection with Jimmy Hoffa until one of them is dead. The solution--Humphrey needs to be conveniently dead. Ideally, of course, he'll be dead while still perfectly able to take advantage of the millions he has stashed in overseas bank accounts.
Humphrey recruits Helen Sedlacek and Joe Service to take over his business. Helen proves to be a natural. She has longstanding mob connections, a fast-growing love for the smuggled cigar business and a business nack for the largely legitimate mob business. Joe is blessed with a complex but lenient set of moral rules. He prefers not to kill but isn't much bothered when he does. Humphrey then concocts an elaborate plan leading to his supposed death.
Jon A. Jackson writes compellingly about the Detroit mob, the changing nature of today's Mafia, and the moral ambiguity involved in a crime business that is frequently more moral than the rest of the world. Humphrey is a compelling character--simultaneously free from human emotions of loyalty and pity, yet anxious to look after Helen and even Joe. Detective Sergeant Mulheisen, the supposed major character, however, is a more amorphous figure. Other characters describe him as a force of nature, constantly coming after the truth despite all anyone can do. In LA DONNA DETROIT, however, Mulheisen plays a fairly minor role with few scenes dedicated to him until late in the novel.
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