Yet another complex whodunit starring Donald Lamb, the pint-sized detective with the big brain and his outsized, money-loving business partner Bertha Cool. Beginning with an innocuous inquiry into a hocked pendent, the pace picks up fairly fast with an unexpected murder, the mysterious appearance of dazzling precious gems, and of all the unusual characters, a pet crow with a penchant for glittering objects. In almost Bond style, the scene shifts to Colombia with its twisting mountain roads, steamy jungles, gold and gem mines, and an inscrutable and menacing police chief. Unraveling tortuous plots is Donald's specialty, and this one is no different. An exciting read, and for those used to Earle Stanley Gardener's Perry Mason with his perspicacity and trained legal mind, Gardner in his A.A. Fair avatar, sketches his protagonist Donald Lamb very differently. Also trained as a lawyer and no less sharp-witted than Mason, yet a total contrast.
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