A Killing In Comics by Max Allan Collins, the first of his Jack and Maggie Starr mysteries, creates a vivid alternate universe inhabited by many familiar characters in and around the early days of comics, especially those comics and characters created by and for DC. Collins is quite careful to note that while the names and personalities of many of the "suspects" in this whodunnit are similar they are not identical to the folks who are now familiar to comic book fans of the era.
|Harry Donenfeld and Company|
In fact "Wonder Guy" makes an appearance early as it is a Wonder Guy costume "Donnie Harrison" wears to his own birthday party, a party attended by many almost-familiar types including Harrison's mistress Honey Daily whose apartment is the setting for the affair.
|Joe Siegel and Joe Shuster|
A Killing In Comics is a true-blue whodunnit with Jack Starr as an P.I. with a modicum of charm and barrel full of moxie who knows all the players, some since he was a boy before becoming joining the military police during the war. Using those skills he pokes around the edges of the crime and the history of these almost-familiar characters with a smarmy wit and light but brisk banter.
Also Terry Beatty, the partner with Max Collins on many a project over the decades offers up some scrumptious illustrations to add a proper comic book luster to the story.
This is a light fun read, a good enough mystery for a comfortable afternoon. I highly recommend it. It's one of three mysteries featuring Jack and Maggie Starr. The second volume in the series will be reviewed here next time.