Anyone who happens to read my blog on the adventures of Travis McGee (and his creator, John D. MacDonald, click here) knows that I enjoy spending warm summer afternoons reading about Trav’s cases in subtropical Florida. What you may not know is that I also enjoy reading about sunny Florida in the depths of the winter—when a little fictional heat is very welcome here in Minnesota.
Just recently, I finished a delightful crime farce set in Key West, by the poet laureate of that funky island town, Laurence Shames. It’s call Tropical Swap and it’s the tenth in Shames’s Key West Capers series.
This time around, an innocent couple from Manhattan house-swap with a stranger from Key West. The problem is that the stranger is a reluctant mob hit man whose wife is the daughter of his mob boss. The NYC couple suddenly find themselves neck deep in mob shenanigans and must ally themselves with the reluctant hit man, his estranged wife, an FBI agent and his sexy suspect, and the inimitable Bert the Shirt (along with his trademark chihuahua). You can get to the Kindle ebook page by clicking on the book cover art.
As good as Tropical Swap is, it’s not even nearly the funniest of Shames’s Key West stories. I’d begin at the beginning, with Florida Straits. If you like your mysteries with a chuckle, you’ll have lots to look forward to as you navigate the wacky world of the Key West mob.
February 16, 2015 at 9:00 am
I loved these characters in Shames’ series and read them in order as you suggested. Much fun! Thanks for the update, D. R. I need to pick this one up in part to perhaps make me feel warmer. We’re cold here in North Florida these days, too. Unfortunately, not all of Florida is tropical.
February 16, 2015 at 9:54 am
I’m well aware, Cathy, of how cold it can get there. We rented a house in Lake Placid for a couple months, a few years ago. The night we arrived, it was 35 degrees. I was colder there in bed than I’ve ever been in Minnesota. The heater in that house had never met 35 degrees before. When we talked to the owner, she didn’t even know how to turn the heater on!
March 17, 2015 at 12:33 am
Here’s a quote about John D. Macdonald that I often see bouncing around the web (I hesitate to quote from Wikipeida, which we all know is generally stuff we can wipe our asses with, but this seems legit). “Macdonald is by any standards a better writer than Saul Bellow, only Macdonald writes thrillers and Bellow is a human heart chap, so guess who wears the top grade laurels?” That’s from Kingsley Amis.