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"I never meant to be a private eye."
Thus are we introduced to Pete Amsterdam, the world's most reluctant sleuth and the improbable but totally engaging protagonist of this wry and irresistible novel.
Naked in his hot tub, Pete is idly reviewing his morning tennis game when trouble arrives in the form of the inevitable blonde. This being Key West, the blonde is not quite what she seems, and it's useless to explain to her that he's not a real detective--that, in fact, he got his P.I. license strictly as a tax dodge, a way to pretend his new wine cellar is an "office." She's got troubles of her own--big troubles that are utterly foreign to the cozy little paradise Pete has crafted for himself.
Why, then, does the unwilling gumshoe allow himself to be squeezed ever tighter against Key West's humid underbelly--involved with the likes of local bully Lefty Ortega, his nympho daughter, and the sleazeball who controls the island's gambling boats? And why does he feel that his life is being taken over by the demands and traditions of the detective story?
Will Pete blunder his way through to solving the crime? Will he penetrate the leotard of the lissome yoga teacher who is his only ally? The answers will be found in these fast-moving and hilarious pages, where the hard-boiled flirts with the postmodern. Think of this novel as Raymond Chandler meets Woody Allen meets the Coen brothers, and as a romp that somehow breaks through to serious consideration of the themes of community and responsibility, and the notion that maybe all of us could be heroes--even if mostly in spite of ourselves.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Pete Amsterdam struck it rich through no fault of his own, and he's put his novelistic ambitions aside with his business suits and retired to Key West to live in relative luxury, surrounded by his wine collection and music library. He never considered his PI license as anything but a tax dodge suggested by his accountant. So when a man who's supposedly been dead for two years turns up by the side of Pete's hot tub and asks him to help retrieve the money pouches he buried on a nearby island just before he disappeared, Pete is completely uninterested. But when the man turns up dead again, a beautiful blond yoga teacher who was his best friend convinces Pete to finger the killer and find the treasure--which is how a mild-mannered guy with a taste for the good life gets tangled up with a local mob boss, a gangster who runs a gambling ship, and his dangerous nymphomaniac daughter, ending up in a very funny caper novel that's Laurence Shames's best yet. The pacing ambles a bit, allowing lively digressions on the disparate characters, who end up at the end of the continent and reinvent themselves as regularly as the turning of the tides. This is a welcome addition to the growing shelf of Florida mysteries, and a fuller description of the hero's inner life than Shames has provided in earlier books. --Jane AdamsFrom the Back Cover:
Praise for Laurence Shames
Welcome to Paradise
"The story unfolds at comic warp speed . . . burlesque, as campy and crude as a night at a stag party. But it is also a love story, scored for belly laughs."
--New York Daily News
"Zany humor . . . Shames mixes sun and fun, wise guys and dumb guys, smart gals and bad gals with such wit and style it makes you want to head straight for Key West and join the party."
--The Orlando Sentinel
"Like [Elmore] Leonard, Shames mixes comedy and crime expertly. . . . A delight-fully offbeat crime comedy, Florida style."
"Critics have compared [Shames] to the great crime absurdist Carl Hiaasen, but he's not only treading on the master's heels; in plot, invention, and sheer vigour he's overtaken him."
--Literary Review (London)
"Nearly impossible to put down. Its Key West setting and laugh-out-loud wit recall the best of Carl Hiaasen. Its quirky characters and tough-mindedness are like Elmore Leonard."
--The Plain Dealer
"[T]his slapstick caper, a gravity-defying structure of impossible coincidences, has been built for fun. . . . And even his zaniest characters have a dark core that gives them dimension in this sun-bleached land of forgetting."
--The New York Times Book Review
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Book Description Villard, New York, 2000. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 2d Printing. Nice, tight, unsold, unread 2d printing of this mystery set in Key West, Florida. Ships in a box, fast service from a real bricks and mortar bookstore open since 1998. No remainder marks. Seller Inventory # 000718
Book Description Villard, 2000. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX037550253X
Book Description Villard, 2000. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M037550253X
Book Description Villard, 2000. hardcover. Condition: New. Author Signed Hardcover Book. 2000 NY: Villard First edition, first printing, mint, new/unread in a flawless dust jacket, signed by the author. Each dust jacket is protected in an acid-free archival quality acetate cover. signed by author(s). Seller Inventory # SHANAKE01
Book Description Villard. Hardcover. Condition: New. 037550253X New Condition. Seller Inventory # NEW7.0867824