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The Southern Pacific freight yards neatly strangled and minus a single clue That was when Mendoza was called i A mystery from the early 1960s set in California Lieutenant Mendoza is called in to investigate the murder of Margaret Chadwick a young woman who had managed to make herself thoroughly disliked by all who came into contact with her her habit of snooping or prying information out of people and turning it against them seems to have been generally recognized Then another young woman is found murdered and a physical clue connects the two murders even though it s not clear how the two women knew each other As Lieutenant Mendoza investigates Margaret s family acuaintances and the people she did her charity work with he starts to uncover numerous secrets some of them unconnected to the murders and some directly related to the victimsI thought the puzzle was well constructed and I had not foreseen the ending the relationship between the two victims was slowly unraveled The book is dated in the sense that Lieutenant Mendoza has to deal with a fair bit of prejudice as a police officer of Mexican descent There is also a less than sympathetic view of gay men with one of the police officers thinking that every once in a while they d raid the known gay hangouts just for fun While nobody is roughing anybody up the sentiment against Mexicans and homosexuals is clearly negative So while that is grating for modern readers it does illustrate how far we ve come in terms of tolerance and acceptance

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Death of a Busy Body

Luis Mendoza met the insufferable Margaret Chadwick But the next morning Miss Chadwick's body was discovered in Luis and Alison have gotten married and now need to buybuild a house Meanwhile an old friend of Angel s Hacket s bride is murdered on the way home from a party attended by Alison Who hates Margaret Chadwick enough to strangle her Then Luis and his men find out just how many contenders there are for that honorA charming cat is in jeopardy but remember Ms Shannon loved cats

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It all started with the baby shower that friends gave Sergeant Hackett There Alice Mendoza bride of Lieutenant Death of a Busybody by Dell Shannon is a 1970 PyramidWilliam Morrow publication Originally published in 1963This book is from my vintage paperback collection Many have heard me mention the collection and usually when I write a review for one of these books it s an old Gothic mystery or one of my Medical romances but I do have a very healthy collection of old detective books and a few cozy mysteries too I wasn t sure if these mysteries were gritty hardboiled stories or if they came down on the lighter side As it turns out the novel seems to fall somewhere in between a standard police procedural and a cozy mysteryThe Luis Mendoza series began in 1960 and ran through the late eighties and boast 28 installments The series was popular but over time it fell into obscurity and never gained a renewed interest in the way a few other old detective series have I have a handful of these books on my shelf but this is the first one I ve read A woman with a penchant for starting nasty rumors about people is found murdered Naturally she had a few enemies so there is no shortage of suspects Therefore Luis Mendoza has his hands full trying to ascertain who the murderer is There are several nice theories he works through along the way some plausible than others but I was satisfied with the way the mystery was wrapped up I also enjoyed the private moments in the life of Detective Mendoza who is married and is currently house hunting He and his wife are also cat lovers plus there is a cat featured prominently in the story which is right up my alley But because this is the fifth book in the series I have obviously missed out some of Mendoza s personal backstory which would be nice to catch up on sometime It took me a little while to get into a groove with this book Mendoza speaks Spanish with no translation on occasion and the writing takes a little bit of getting used to I find that happens to me uite often when reading older books Once I got all the characters down the flow evened out for me so the second half of the book was pretty good Unfortunately this book is very much a product of its time and is politically incorrect to the max To be fair the book was written over fifty years ago and the attitudes expressed here were pretty normal back in 1963 That doesn t make it right of course but if you see past those issues the mystery is not half bad I m not sure if all of Shannon s books are like this one when it comes to political incorrectness and offensive attitudes and language This may not be the best representation of her work so I ll probably try one of her other Mendoza mysteries someday when the mood strikes However I am not sure I would recommend this particular installment in the series to anyone as I feel uite confident the book would be too offensive for the majority of contemporary readers but if you think you can tolerate it there was a digital copy available on or there was the last time I checked 3 stars


10 thoughts on “Death of a Busy Body

  1. says:

    Death of a Busybody by Dell Shannon is a 1970 PyramidWilliam Morrow publication Originally published in 1963This book is f

  2. says:

    “I did not know they admitted Mexicans to the police” — Mr Sanchez who has reported a stolen car“Well the force is a

  3. says:

    Mmh keeps popping up like hiccups throughout the book Not the easiest mystery to read doesn't flow well but there's a smoke silver Persian cat who steals the show

  4. says:

    Luis and Alison have gotten married and now need to buybuild a house Meanwhile an old friend of Angel's Hacket's bride is murdered on the way home from a party attended by Alison Who hates Margaret Chadwick enough to strangle her Then Luis and his men find out just how many contenders there are for that honorA charming cat is in jeopardy but remember Ms Shannon loved cats

  5. says:

    COUNTDOWN Mid 20th Century North American Crime BOOK 87 of 250HOOK 3 stars Nice big lots said Alison 200 by 300 And all the trees left On Jovenita Canyon Road No Sheba a cat She rescued her clean stockings and began to put them on I refuse said Mendoza from the bathroom to live on a street called Little Woman Can

  6. says:

    When the body of a woman is found next the rail yards in Los Angles Homicide Lt Mendoza and his team investigate Soon the body of another woman is found buried at a construction site The team has a slew of suspects A good old fashioned murder mystery

  7. says:

    A mystery from the early 1960s set in California Lieutenant Mendoza is called in to investigate the murder of Margaret Chadwick a young woman who had managed to make herself thoroughly disliked by all who came into contact with her her habit of snooping or prying information out of people and turning it against them seems to have been generally recognized Then another young woman is found murdered and a physical clue connects th

  8. says:

    Margaret Chadwick was asking for it Too bad she got it Murdered that is Mendoza's investigation soon uncovers that no one liked her including Alison who was now Mrs Luis Mendoza who met her at a party the day she was killed had nothing good to say about her In between buying tile and paint for the new Mendoza hacienda he starts to

  9. says:

    This story is well stocked with policemen 12 cats at least 5 and suspects 6 But it is well crafted for the most part and fun Shannon really can depict how people talk in normal conversation in jerky fractured phrases There is a lot of Spanish in these dialogues not all of it translated and it adds color to the narrativeMendoza remains a distinctive figure He is independently wealthy thanks to an inheritance so he donates

  10. says:

    To be honest I got this book because of the cover it is just one of those that remind me of the 70's pictures even though this book was written 1963 It was a ok book to me I just could not get into the writing style The storyline was good as you can tell by the title a nosey women who like to gossip and ruin peoples lives got her

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