Item description for Perfectly Healthy Man Drops Dead by Bruce Hartman...
A down on his luck disbarred Philadelphia lawyer, working now as a bar piano player, must solve the murder of the managing partner of his former law firm. As he peels away layer after layer of intrigue, he finds himself pursued simultaneously by the police, the Mafia, and a psychopathic skinhead. Meanwhile, he continues his secret, unconsummated liaison with a judge whose husband becomes one of his prime suspects, while he carries on a real affair with a stripper. When he becomes the prime suspect in the murder, he must draw on all of his skills to find the real killer.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.8" Width: 5.9" Height: 0.7" Weight: 0.85 lbs.
Release Date Jun 30, 2008
Publisher Salvo Press
ISBN 1930486812 ISBN13 9781930486812
Availability 132 units. Availability accurate as of May 25, 2017 10:19.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Perfectly Healthy Man Drops Dead?
A gripping mystery Sep 6, 2008
People in their prime aren't suppose to drop dead. "Perfectly Healthy Man Drops Dead" is the story of an ex-lawyer who is accused of murder - for his former partner in his old firm is found dead. With him the perfect patsy for the crime, the police, the mob, and others seek after him and put to rest any moves for him to save himself. His life becomes more and more complicated as the mystery becomes more and more complex - "Perfectly Healthy Man Drops Dead" is a gripping mystery from first page to last, a top pick for community library mystery collections.
Big city mystery with atmosphere Jul 7, 2008
This is a kind of offbeat mystery set in Philadelphia. Pete Cloud, debarred lawyer, now a jazz/standards piano player at a bar, is the reluctant sleuth. In the tradition of film noir he narrates and makes with the cynical and often comical observations about low-life lawyers, crooked politicians, inept and corrupt cops, and such. Hartman has an especial knack for creating quirky supporting female characters. This may intrigue little old ladies from Pasadena and Russell Square (said to be major consumers of mysteries) who can compare the characters to their in-laws, friends and neighbors or maybe to themselves. Particularly funny are Cloud's girl friend's mother Theresa who smokes like a Chinese coal factory but cleans and disinfects like a germaphobe, and the "unattractive" junior partner Patsy, who never stops gossiping, but somehow manages to hear and know more than anyone else about what's going on, possibly because she doesn't waste time shaving her legs.
I once spent some time studying the mystery genre and even wrote a sort of offbeat mystery myself, that, alas, never found royalty publication. I think the key to the success in the genre requires an interesting sleuth with endearing characteristics with which the readership can identify. Columbo, the TV sleuth, was sloppy and seemingly slow-witted, but was actually ahead of everyone else. Agatha Christie's Sir Wilfred Robarts in "Witness for the Prosecution" is a rascally curmudgeon with a heart condition who hides cigars in his cane and brandy in his thermos, but is a shrewd and foxy man with a lovable disposition. And her Hercule Poirot, while prissy and egotistical, is nonetheless something of an analytical genius who sees things others can't. Seemingly mild mannered Pete Cloud can flip people, thanks to his background in wrestling, and he can improvise on the spot, such as playing dead, and can play just about every pop tune ever written. All in all, I think he's an interesting character with a lively-enough voice to carry the story.
It also helps to have a clever plot and lots of red herring type suspects to keep the reader guessing. Here the murdered man, a sleazy lawyer, is hated by almost everybody, so there are suspects aplenty.
What I didn't like about this mystery is the relationship between Cloud and Elena. She is an unhappily married judge. Their relationship is unconsummated despite the best efforts of her mother who hates her son-in-law. For me this just didn't work. One gets the feeling that the reason the affair is unconsummated is that Elena really doesn't find Peter that interesting. At any rate I think a little passion upfront between the two would help. Furthermore, Cloud's easy attraction to the Asian stripper Madison doesn't bode well for a happy ending with Elena.
I believe the strength of the book is in the running social commentary on the Philadelphia lawyer culture that Hartman provides. He knows the milieu from the postal clerks and secretaries to the senior partners and their tony clients very well.