A gas station owner named Clem Wilson calls Michael Shayne for help and is murdered while on the phone. Who murdered the gas station owner and why? That's what Michael Shayne has to know. But can he find out who gunned down Clem Wilson before he's gunned down himself?
Okay, now this is more like it. After the disappointment of Fourth Down to Death, Heads You Lose has redeemed Michael Shayne a bit in my eyes.
The plot to Heads You Lose is so much more complex than it seems at first glance. The wartime setting and the rationing of gasoline proves to be the lynchpin that holds everything together. It took me forever to figure out who killed Clem Wilson and I like to think I have respectable sleuthing skills.
The body count in this one is fairly high and most of the deaths were unexpected. Halliday did a lot of misdirection in this one. Clem Wilson's deserter son wound up being a giant red herring after it sure looked like he was behind his father's murder early on. While I knew there are over 100 of these, I still feared for Michael Shayne a couple times.
No big complaints on this. It's a product of the time it was written so the idea of rationing gas and rubber isn't really relateable. Aside from powerful lady lawyer, the other female characters were standard for detective stories of its day.
Some of the characters were a little weak but as a thrilling detective story, Heads You Lose easily got the job done. I wouldn't say it was amazing or timeless but I enjoyed it quite a bit.