In his business life Murray Kirk has made good by taking his mentor's advice and 'sticking to the facts'. That is what his clientele want and expect from his successful New York detective agency. This is not Sam Spade; it is a professional business that has left Kirk reasonably wealthy and an eligible batchelor in his mid Thirties.
His cynical, no-nonsense outlook is confirmed when a Grand Jury begins an extensive graft and police corruption inquiry. Yet this cynicism is put aside at the sight of the 'pretty ankle' of Ruth Vincent the fiancee of a beleagured vice cop. As the plot develops into a 'guilty or not?' story it is central that his own staff, lawyers, friends and even the criminals, find it impossible to accept that Kirk's only motivation is to enjoy carnal relations with Ruth.
The novel felt derivative. I kept having flashes of differing films noir as scenes developed. Kirk is an unappealing character who mixes business savvy with lust and 'a smug assurance' that he is 'on the side of the angels'. This is then compounded by a laboured plot twist which seemed out of character.
Mr Ellin has a nice sarcasm about the contemporary obsession with the movies, TV and celebrity including the chief villain whose life revolves around screenings of 'The 64,000 Dollar Question'. The sexual elements are so strait-laced as to be humourous; when you get to the shower scene this will become apparent!
It is well written with plenty of plot to get your teeth into but it just felt routine. That is not to say this is a poor novel. More a case of been there, seen it, got the T-Shirt. It's OK.