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    Review of TO DIE FOR by David Champion


    Allen A. Knoll Publishers, November 2005

    Disliking "call me Fab" Franchesi is easy--the man is annoying, demanding and obnoxiously certain. Still, lawyer/investigator Tod Hanson isn't sure that's enough reason to let Fab's daughter, Pia, take the rap for a murder. As far as the D.A. is concerned, though, the case is clear-cut. The dead man was found in Pia's bed, shot apparently with her gun, and was known to be blackmailing her into sleeping with him in exchange for free rent. The D.A. doesn't think even Bomber Hanson, Tod's father, can get this client off. Of course, persuading Bomber to take the case with Fab hanging around is a rough challenge.

    Tod needs to discover why Pia's ex-boyfriend is mysteriously absent, what "call me Fab" is really trying to accomplish, who the disgusting new landlord thinks he is, and why the other girls in Pia's apartment seem to have turned against her--all while stuttering whenever his father is around and being stuck with the dirty jobs by both Bomber and Pia's mother.

    Author David Champion writes a charmingly old-fashioned mystery, combining elements of Perry Mason and Nero Wolfe. Tod, the hard-working sidekick and narrator, gets to do the dirty work, talking to suspects, tracking down friends and witnesses, and getting knocked in the head when he sticks his nose where it isn't wanted. Bomber gets to drive his Bentley (Chinese Red), and wallow in the glory.

    In a step away from the old-fashioned, Champion introduced an intriguing twist to the conclusion. I found it disturbing and it left a strange taste in my mouth. Other readers are likely to appreciate the jolt.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 6/05/09

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