Cover image for The Maxwell Street blues : a Chicago mystery featuring Paul Whelan
The Maxwell Street blues : a Chicago mystery featuring Paul Whelan
Raleigh, Michael.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 1994.
Physical Description:
280 pages ; 22 cm
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Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Paul Whelan, former Chicago cop turned private investigator, is hired by a mystery client to find Sam Burwell, who was last seen running a booth on Maxwell Street, the infamous Chicago flea market. Whelan, who knows the Maxwell Street scene well, quickly establishes that Burwell was a regular vendor but hasn't been around lately. He's soon found shot, and Whelan is briefly a suspect. But when other street folks end up dead, Whelan realizes he's on to something more sinister and far-reaching than a random street shooting. What he discovers is a web of passion and subterfuge that extends back a generation or more and reveals not only the killer, but also the identity of his mystery client. The third Whelan mystery, following A Body in Belmont Harbor [BKL Mar 15 93], pos~sesses the same attributes as its predecessors: an agreeably low-key protagonist; plenty of vivid Chicago atmosphere; and a well-rounded portrayal of mean streets and the often very decent people forced to inhabit them. ~--Wes Lukowsky

Publisher's Weekly Review

Raleigh's third mystery, following The Body in Belmont Harbor and featuring ex-cop Paul Whelan-a grungy, moral and pleasingly anachronistic shamus working the ethnically diverse, economically bruised neighborhoods of Chicago's Uptown district-is set in the mid-1980s. A drifter known by two different names has disappeared, and a well-heeled black lawyer, employed by a concerned relative, hires Whelan to find the missing man. Whelan discovers that his prey, known to have run a stall at the Maxwell Street flea market, has recently been sought by someone else, who may want him dead. The badly dressed Whelan, who has little luck with women, seems to enjoy trolling through the urban decay that Raleigh paints in vivid, largely unsentimental brushstrokes. The smells and the sounds are evocative: the greasy food that Whelan thrives on, the dank workingman's bars and the ever-present rattle of the el overhead. The novel moves a mite slowly, and the conclusion hinges on a character drawn into the narrative late in the game, but Raleigh presents a genuine good guy in the luckless Whelan and offers a knockout supporting cast. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved