Dancing in the Dark - Stuart M. Kaminsky A noir detective novel with an ironical twist, reminiscent of Dashiel Hammett but written in the 1990s. All the ingredients are present: a weathered and disillusioned PI, Toby Peters, a femme fatale (or two), a scary mobster boss, and the glamorous setting of Hollywood in 1943. Fred Astaire plays the role of the hero’s sidekick. He also tries to tech Peters to dance but gives the enterprise up after a couple of hours as an utter impossibility.
There are plentiful supporting characters in the story, each one with a quirk: a deaf landlady with the delusions of a memoir writer, a fat dentist, a corrupt police captain. As the corpses of dancers pile up, the protagonist plugs through all his troubles as befits his archetype and literary ancestor, Sam Spade: coolly and nonchalantly, without the excess of girly emotions. A fun, undemanding read.