Hat Trick

Hat Trick…A Brief Synopsis

– ONE SHOE BLUES . . . A Maximo Morgan Mystery in which it appears that foreign powers-that-be are attempting to get their mitts on a technological breakthrough with potential to knock the world’s socks off.

– PRANKENSTEIN MONSTER . . . A Maximo Morgan Mystery in which the girlfriend and best friend of a soldier reportedly killed in Afghanistan are haunted by an uninvited  Halloween party guest in costume reeking of embalming fluid.

– HAM FOR THE HOLIDAYS . . . A Maximo Morgan Mystery in which Max is thrown for a loop by personal involvement in a case of life imitating dramatization of murder most foul by Shakespeare.
. . . Three, count ’em, THREE Maximo Mysteries in one.

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Hat Trick

Hat Trick by William LeRoy

Book Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

Hat Trick is the latest book from the pen of the best-selling author, William LeRoy. It features the down home-style sleuthing of one of LeRoy’s most intriguing main characters, PI Maximo Morgan, in three long short stories. The first tale, “One Shoe Blues,” won the Percy Wilson Society’s prestigious Not the Butler Award, and the other two stories, “Prankenstein Monster” and “Ham for the Holidays,” are also gems of brilliant storytelling, making this collection a captivating and engrossing “hat trick,” indeed. The three tales make this book a Must Read for fans of mysteries, especially those that are laced with a generous helping of humor, cultural references, and the trademark sort of clever wordplay that LeRoy is known for. Like the author’s other novels, Hat Trick is set in Oklahoma, with much of the action taking place in the small backwater town of Henryetta.  Purchase Here.

“One Shoe Blues,” originally published in PWS Periodical II, is my personal favorite of the three Maximo Morgan Mysteries, though I also thoroughly enjoyed reading the other two tales.  It takes its title from the B.B. King song of the same name. Maximo, or “Max,” has a knack for jumping to conclusions and making assumptions, some fairly accurate in a sense, some of which are erroneous. Ah, well — not all of the conclusions reached by other examples of literature’s most famous PIs have been completely accurate, but that’s one of the aspects about Hat Trick and LeRoy’s other books that lend humor to them and make you want to keep turning pages to discover what Max will be up to next. Reading the very cool first story, “One Shoe Blues,” you might even learn a thing or two about shoes and shoe-related expressions. I know that I did.

The other two tales in Hat Trick are also stellar, if you are a fan of clever and humorous mysteries, as I am. The first chapter of “Prankenstein Monster” begins on the Monday after Halloween, on November 1, 2023, and Max is faced with another day at  work at the local Mister Quickie’s copy shop. He is not in the best of moods because the night before, the front door of the house that he shares with his mom got egged. The incident reminds Max of Mike Hammer’s Case of Ghostwritten Graffiti and the quote that Halloween was “a green light for some to engage in perverse passions.”

Max relishes in associating the exploits and lives of literary PIs with his own. The “perverse passions” that lead to three costumed people egging his mother’s (and his) house is what sets off a chain of links that is the plot of “Prankenstein Monster,” a story originally published in the October edition of Private Dickwork Illustrated. This is a great story with many twists and turns to it. Max finds himself trying to solve the mystery of why a “dame” disappears following a Halloween party.  A stranger “smelling of embalming fluid,” who crashes the party adds to the fun of reading “Prankenstein Monster.”

The third tale in Hat Trick is “Ham for the Holidays.” Besides the natural desire that many people have of wanting to be home for the holidays and spending time with friends and family, traditionally also over indulging in all sorts of food, like ham, is another experience that can make holidays special. Max has that “natural desire” in spades. In “Ham for the Holidays,” a story that was “originally commissioned as course material for a 2023 Harvard 4-H Club Symposium on “Homicide and Hunger in Hamlet,” our intrepid flatfoot PI faces some of the issues that Shakespeare’s tragic hero, Hamlet, also faced, like hunger.

In “Ham for the Holidays,” Max can’t help but recalling the hard lesson that another one of his heroes, the literary PI Percy Wilson learned. Sadly, the Latin expression “Cherchez la Femme,” or “Shedunnit,” was often true when it came to the perpetrator of nefarious deeds. Max, like Percy Wilson, is reluctant to consider the possibility that “Sometimes a guy had to walk over burning charcoal and his own mother to wrap-up a case.”

Hearing that his Mom is going to get remarried, Max goes on a “hunger strike.” Mom Morgan enlists the aid of Dr. Stern, to help her “troubled son.” The table is turned when Max, himself, gets accused by guilty the good doctor of “emotional blackmail.”  Everybody’s a suspect in “Ham for the Holidays,” even Max’s own sweet Mom Morgan, and…himself.

Hat Trick by William LeRoy is a treat to read, whether it’s read before, during, or after the upcoming holiday season. The three Maximo Morgan Mysteries included in the book are sure to bring a smile to the faces of everybody who checks out Hat Trick. If you’re someone who loves reading mysteries with plot twists galore that are also laced with a heaping helping of humor, this is definitely the book for you!





Deadly Droppings/Humble Pie by William LeRoy

Deadly Droppings

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Dispensing to mystery-thirsty minds, a winning combination of adventure, mystery, Pigeon racing, and private investigation,  is William Leroy’s Deadly Droppings, a work that faithfully adds to his series of Maximo Morgan Mystery books. Also, delightfully, there is an included, unique perk to this book, as the book offers a two-for-one read, while the other side of the book features another Maximo Morgan mystery, titled Humble PiePurchase Here.

Albeit, this narrative,  presents a deeply entangled story that piques the interest on many levels, things start out simply. First, we meet Maximo Morgan, a robust character, both physically and mentally. He’s in his office so to speak which is his desk in a Mr. Quickies copy shop where he works as a notary public servicing Quickie shop customers in exchange for desk space which is where he also provides another service, private investigations, selling his investigative talents to the interested public at large.

Moreover, Maximo is not alone.   He has company, Bill Crowe, a former co-worker from the United States postal service where the two worked together at one time. As they talk and trade stories, the tone of their conversation changes as Bill expresses that he has a problem.  His pride and joy, Homer Crowe is missing and he needs Maximo Morgan to be on the case, especially because his price is right.

Meanwhile, Maximo along with his teenage sidekick, (a young admirer who wants to be a private investigator), begins to sort things out and works on the investigation. However, as the investigation proceeds, Maximo, realizes something is not quite right as clues begin to point towards quite a different situation. An earnest Maximo believed he was looking for a friend’s missing teenage son but as he sorts through evidence he soon comes to realize that things are not as they seem. Max is really looking for something of a different nature and not a possible teenage runaway. As time ticks and a competitor rears his “ugly” head, Maximo has to make moves to get to the heart of the mystery of the disappearing Homer.

Altogether, I was delighted in reading, Deadly Droppings.  This colorful, intelligent, and twisted detective fiction was not only a creative romp through the “hard-boiled detective” genre but it was also creatively twisted and even edifying in its content. In particular, the aspect concerning the multi-faceted, world of pigeon racing, especially the history and use of pigeons in general, I found not only intensely engaging but also refreshing as this is a topic not often visited in mystery books. I enjoyed the journey into the world of private detectives and learning their standards of investigation, the sorting of evidence, the process of eliminating suspects, the vibrant characterizations, detective vernacular as well the quick dips, into other well-known, hard-boiled detective stories. This is definitely a great addition to any mystery lovers’ library especially those into uniquely formatted, collectible books and I definitely do recommend it.  As a matter of fact, this would make a great TV/cable mystery series.


Humble Pie

Reviewed by Rahul Gaur

Humble Pie by William Leroy is a captivating and thought-provoking novel that explores the complexities of family dynamics, mental illness, and the pursuit of success. Divided into twenty-one chapters, the book takes readers on a journey through the lives of Maximo Morgan, Mimi Everheart, Mamie Motley, and her son Algernon.  Purchase Here.

LeRoy’s writing style is engaging and accessible, with vivid descriptions of food that are sure to make readers’ mouths water. From the opening chapter, it’s clear that he has a talent for creating realistic and relatable characters, as well as a knack for pacing and plot development. The plot is well-crafted, with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader engaged throughout. LeRoy deftly weaves together themes of family, love, loss, and redemption in a way that feels both authentic and uplifting.

One of the book’s strengths is its focus on character development. Maximo is struggling to make ends meet and has no cases to work on, while Mamie Motley and her son Algernon, who has returned home with the dream of opening a restaurant despite his diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Mimi Everheart, a wealthy woman who believes herself to be of noble birth and holds a grudge against Camilla. The novel provides insight into the characters’ thoughts and struggles, with each character facing unique challenges and aspirations. The author’s writing style is descriptive and engaging, drawing the reader into the characters’ lives and making them feel invested in their stories.

One of the most compelling aspects of “Humble Pie” is the way LeRoy explores the theme of mental illness. The portrayal of Algie’s verbal self-stimulations (The person speaks very loudly and frequently says things that are not appropriate.) They often repeat words and phrases that they learned as a child, especially from nursery rhymes, which they still remember very well) are so real that they give goosebumps.

What sets Humble Pie apart as an enjoyable read is the variety of its characters and their individual experiences. The book also touches on important social issues such as autism, privilege, and mental illness and does so in a way that is both sensitive and thought-provoking.

Case of a Puzzling Book

Case of a Puzzling Book: A Maximo Morgan Mystery by William LeRoy

Book Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

Case of a Puzzling Book: A Maximo Morgan Mystery by William LeRoy is a tricky mystery told in a uniquely creative format. Readers are immediately drawn into a rollicking adventure set off by the actions of a baldheaded stranger who goes into the Twisted Sister Coffeehouse in the small town of Henryetta, Oklahoma. Popo Crowder owns the coffee shop that includes a free library book exchange with erotic novels and similar literary fiction as part of the collection. The literary works on the bookshelves are regarded with antipathy by Eppie, her twin sister. Eppie is part of a group that “edits” books of an “objectionable” nature. The differing points of view between Popo and Eppie have created a rift in the sisters’ relationship, which comes into play in the story.  Click Here to Purchase.

When the baldheaded stranger takes Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence and leaves The Same Old Story by William LeRoy in its place, Popo is perplexed as to why words and sentences are missing from pages in the book. Popo hires private detective Maximo “Max” Morgan, whose role model is private investigator Brad Runyon, a character created by novelist Dashiell Hammett. Popo asks Max to look into why The Same Old Story is the target of intentional defacing of parts of the text. Is there more to the case than meets the eye? Will Max figure out who might be responsible for the vandalism and the purpose behind it?

Case of a Puzzling Book is told from three perspectives, with each chapter focusing on one character’s point of view. Readers gain a deeper insight into each of the characters’ thoughts, feelings, and motivations as they go through experiences in their lives with a common thread that weaves them together. The author’s creative use of lingo makes the characters stand out in their behaviors, actions, and mannerisms.

As the story progresses, the case takes many twists and turns, adding layers of intrigue that will keep readers glued to this highly captivating mystery interspersed with humorous moments. LeRoy keeps readers on their toes guessing which one of many reasons accounts for the defacing of pages in The Same Old Story. All the literary works mentioned in the story tie in beautifully with the storyline. The nameless junior high student interacting with Max is a great sidekick. Music symbols representing notes add a nice touch. There are clever analogies of biblical characters with fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters. The author does not include an overabundance of curse words, and they fit the story’s tone.

LeRoy has written a mystery with an unexpected twist at the end and an underlying ambiguity as to whether William LeRoy is a fictitious name.