Ayjay's Millions: An A.J. Carlin Mystery
by Jack Wassermann
Manhattan private eye AyJay Carlin is single, white, female, and a self-dubbed “pleej,” “crip,” or “wheelie,” depending on her mood. Based on a very real paraplegic, Ms. Carlin is twice as competent as most of us able-bodied folk. She is also irreverent, lusty, and intermittently confused about her world and how she fits into it.
In AyJay’s Millions, AyJay is hired by fiftyish Eddie Dahlgren to find out whether his niece, Tanya Styles, is being wooed by a fortune hunter. Styles has become a performing member of Pro Musica Amorosa, a group that specializes in ancient music and is currently rehearsing in a Suffolk County town. Before long, Ms. Carlin discovers that Dahlgren is not who he seems, and neither is Styles, but this only whets her appetite for the chase, not to mention her interest in Mr. Dahlgren personally. When AyJay’s longtime friend and associate Martin turns up dead under mysterious circumstances in New York, closely followed by Styles in Suffolk, AyJay is at first devastated, and then puzzled. There’s no apparent sign of foul play, yet she gradually becomes convinced that they were murdered, a notion pooh-poohed by police authorities in the two jurisdictions.
In the course of her investigation AyJay enlists the help of:
*her old buddy Sonia Paproski, a resourceful staff editor on a national gossip sheet
*Inspector Ernie Vandenberg, her skeptical rabbi on NYPD who is himself being put out to pasture
*Tony Tamereau, AKA The Ferret, a legendary and barely legal computer hacker-for-hire reachable only by phone or fax at his shack on the Gulf Coast of Texas, and
*Gene MacCauslen, an octogenarian lawyer representing Martin’s estate.
The chase leads Ms. Carlin through a series of shadow worlds that include a “dull” Federal agency, a multi-million dollar electronic embezzlement, and a series of art forgeries a half century ago in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands
Increasingly suspicion falls within the ranks of the Pro Musica group, whose members are made up partly of laypersons and partly of friars from the charterhouse of St. Florian near St. Johnsbury, Vermont. But who among them, religious or lay, is the culprit? AyJay Carlin must place her mental and physical competence on the line if she is to escape with her life and nail the culprit.
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