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A PICTURE OF HER TOMBSTONE
By Thomas Lipinski

Avon, 1996 $5.99 ISBN 0-380-73024-3

Reviewed by S. E. Warwick

Carroll Dorsey is a rumpled, down on his luck, private eye who lives on the tired side of Pittsburgh that canít quite believe in the demise of the steel mills.This book could be categorized as a noir cozy. The foul deeds are nasty, but the MacGuffin is a little old lady looking for her granddaughter.

Dorsey rummages through the dark side of life that includes the loss of his temporary bartender job, the one that paid the rent when his investigating jobs dried up, and his doctor girlfriend who moves to a small town to find a better job, and perhaps lover.

While searching for the missing girl, Dorsey learns more about his father, a powerful local politician, how his own mother died and why getting involved with fanatic law enforcement personnel can be a trip to disaster.

Dorsey, though he has every reason to be cynical, remains an optimist. Lipinski gives the ending of the story a happy noir twist. Dorsey has a good drunk then gets on with his life, almost eager for the next disappointment.

A Picture of Her Tombstone is a good read. Dorsey is a throwback to the time of Hammett and Chandler, and yet a private eye for our time.


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