Tough Cookie is the first book I have read from the author, and I picked it up as a Kindle freebie. It has been on my reading list for quite a while, and after reviewing some new titles like Queen Sugar, Death of a Policeman and The All You Can Dream Buffet, I thought I would pick up this book from my TBR list. It is an understatement to say that I was pleasantly surprised.
The story stars Depression era sleuth Maggie Sullivan who is in a profession that is quite bold considering the times she lives in. We have seen women sleuths like Miss Marple of course, and who could be more unlikely as one? But the difference is that Maggie Sullivan is a licensed PI and has her own office in downtown Dayton, Ohio. Her father was a cop so she has been weaned on police business, and has a lot of friends or benevolent godfathers and uncles in the police department.
Maggie is approached by local rich tycoon Wildman to locate a missing person. Wildman has been swindled by a man called Draper who is now absconding. As soon as Maggie is contacte by Wildman, she suffers an accident. Draper turns up dead soon after. There is a list of people who were also swindled, or could have been. No one likes to publicly admit that they got taken in into a scam. One of the victims has committed suicide. Another is a ballsy Jewish woman who runs a construction business and throws white lies at Maggie.
Maggie taps on various resources like the press and cops to try and get information. She engages in some serious leg work to get to the bottom of the truth. It is refreshing to read about a true blue woman detective, especially in the 1930s. I think of Dayton as a sleepy university town, but the book exposed me to quite a different one.
Maggie Sullivan carries many guns in many places and is the kind that might hate the moniker ‘Tough Cookie‘. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this mystery. It is what I call one of my Kindle gems, a book that wows me out of the blue when I have the least expectations.
Overall, a must read for mystery fans and fans of a historical setting.