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book cover of A Perfectly Proper Murder

A Perfectly Proper Murder

(The tenth book in the Carl Wilcox series)
A novel by

Publisher's Weekly
Still painting signs in Depression-era South Dakota, Carl Wilcox, introduced in The Man Who Was Taller Than God , finds himself in Podunkville where eggs are 11? a dozen and rooms are let at 50? a day. He rents one of the latter from the Widow Bower, but he isn't there one night before local ''brute and bully'' Basil Ecke turns up murdered next to Wilcox's Model T and the painter becomes the prime suspect. Ecke owned the local pharmacy and was a silent partner in a hotel in nearby Aquaville where he cavorted with a series of married women. Wilcox, a ''boozing cowboy con'' who sometimes substitutes as a cop, investigates ''the wife beatings, the woman chasing, the tales of incest and possible murder'' that suggest motives for the killing. Sharp dialogue and brisk characterization of familiar inhabitants of a small town where women are hard and men are weak add some substance to the thin plot. The murder weapon, a common domestic item, turns out to be more interesting than the unsurprising revelation of who wielded it. (Sept.)

Library Journal
Adams pares down his first-person narrative to the bare essentials necessary for verbal clue-gathering. Returning protagonist Carl Wilcox, an itinerant sign painter and ex-con ( The Man Who Was Taller Than God , Walker, 1992), passes through Podunkville, South Dakota just in time for police to accuse him of murdering a miserly wealthy businessman. Carl, no slugabed, offers his help to the police. His straight-to-the-point interrogations leave little room for action or description, but the dialog rings true, and the plot looks good. A tidy, bantam-weight contender.

BookList - Stuart Miller
Devotees of Carl Wilcox will welcome his latest adventure in Adams' popular series set in Depression-era South Dakota. Temporarily residing in the aptly named town of Podunkville while completing a sign-painting job for the local cafe, Wilcox finds himself the suspect in a murder investigation when the body of his landlady's next-door neighbor is found one morning next to Carl's car. The local sheriff looks askance at Carl the ex-con drifter until his bona fides are checked out with the hometown police. Being naturally nosy, Carl enlists as an unofficial deputy to investigate the crime. The dead man, Basil Ecke, was rumored to have killed his first wife, and he openly beat his second and kept a hotel room for his many extramarital flings. In short, the man's life created no end of potential suspects, and Carl diligently sorts through them all. This is a thoroughly satisfying addition to the series, though it doesn't feature the hard edges and truly evil characters that Adams' fans will remember from the previous episodes. Carl, like all of us, is getting older and maybe just a little mellow, so it follows that his latest outing should feel a bit gentler than its predecessors.


Used availability for Harold Adams's A Perfectly Proper Murder

Hardback Editions

September 1993 : USA Hardback

Title: A Perfectly Proper Murder: A Carl Wilcox Mystery
Author(s): Harold Adams
ISBN: 0-8027-3237-2 / 978-0-8027-3237-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Walker & Co
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA