Write Me a Letter

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Vic Daniel runs a one-man private detective agency from a down-at-the-heels office located in a half-vacant strip mall in Southern California’s San Fernando Valley. The ambiance is lower class, but his adventures are first-rate.

His current client, a classy dame in his parlance, wants him to pick up her Uncle Theo at the airport and deliver him to her other uncle’s home. Her story has too many convolutions to be believable, and Vic suspects Uncle Theo is really a former Nazi war criminal. The retainer offered is nothing to sneer at, though, so Vic takes on the job. He plans to investigate his suspicions at the earliest possible moment, but first must trace a “skip.”

Although Vic runs a single-operative business, he parcels out odd jobs to a former punk poetess named Sara who has a flair for the dramatic. She and her boyfriend George trail people and impersonate whatever characters are needed to trap a guilty party.

Clues indicate that the man who skipped town may have gone to Montreal, so Vic and his entourage of Sara and George head for the icy reaches of that Canadian city. It turns out the skip is a decent (by Vic’s standards) guy who had only helped himself to some mob money that was already stolen, and Vic, in sympathy, covers his tracks and tells the fellow to get a new identity.

Returning to sunny California in time to meet Uncle Theo’s flight, Vic embarks on a trip that he expects to be perilous. Time proves him to be right and brings an ending that satisfies in an oddball way.