Zenosbooks

(11/01/2008) The Rockburg Railroad Murders by K. C. Constantine. New York. 1972. Saturday Review Press. keywords: Mystery America Pennsylvania. 188 pages. Jacket design by Mike Melver. 0841501807.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   This fast-rate mystery introduces an enormously likable chief of police, Mario Balzic, a tough but noncompulsive cop who hates pompous district attorneys, overly inquisitive reporters, and police with loaded guns. Here he is up against a murderer whose highly rationalized madness endangers Balzic's own teen-age daughter as well as several leading citizens. His small-town police department may lack the computers and sophisticated equipment of the big cities, but in this case, Mario has something else going for him - a few people he can count on to help. His elderly mother, who possesses an encyclopedic memory of the town's people and events, provides clues to be found nowhere else. Mo Valcanas, a Greek patriot, has to be sobered up to perform his duties as a lawyer, but does so in exemplary fashion when Mario needs him. And Father Marazzo, who can be found late at night playing cards in the back room of Muscotti's Bar, serves as a valuable sounding board. When a quiet and altogether respectable man is found bludgeoned to death with a Coke bottle on the platform of the Rocksburg railroad station, Balzic has an intuitive but improvable conviction that the man's stepson is responsible. It is not until a second murder occurs that the pieces fall into place, and Balzic is as concerned about this hopelessly insane young man as he is about the possible repercussions of his latest crime-for the victim is no ordinary citizen this time, but a top Mafia bagman who was going about his business for the local numbers racket. This is the first mystery in a new series by K. C. Constantine featuring Chief Balzic, a hokey, untypical detective who works from a bedrock of compassion and shrewd common sense.

 

 

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