by Patch O'Furr
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
Who Killed Kathleen Gingers?, by Gary Akins. Revised edition. Illustrated.
Austin, TX, Furry Logic Productions, February 2010, trade paperback $15.00 (136 pages).
For those who object to funny-animal fiction – stories in which there is no reason for the characters to be anthropomorphic animals instead of regular humans – Who Killed Kathleen Gingers? can be easily skipped. For those who don’t mind it as long as the story is well-written, and who like crime noir murder mysteries in the Sam Spade/Philip Marlowe/Shell Scott/Travis McGee tradition, don’t miss Who Killed Kathleen Gingers?
Calico Rock sheriff’s office detective Allan Connell (ferret) is sent to investigate the reported murder of vivacious Hollywood star Kathleen Gingers (mouse) at her palatial Pacific Beach vacation home. When Gingers herself answers the door, it looks like the report was a prank – until Connell and Gingers find a real body, that of Gingers’ murdered private secretary, who looks very much like her.
Whodunit, and why? Does the popular Gingers have enemies? Or did the bland secretary, who was recently hired with nothing much really known about her? Was the secretary killed by mistake for Gingers, and is Gingers still in danger? Connell is faced with the crime noir detective’s usual comic-relief (but not totally incompetent) assistant, mysterious clues, and lots of suspects: an unconvincingly indignant husband, an overly-jealous wife, a too-affable producer and his hysterical associate who is very eager to accuse a particular suspect, a sultry mistress with a secret, the vengeful father of a long-dead friend …
Akins writes the right crime noir prose:
“The ocelot-fem was lying face-down on a beach towel by the edge of the pool, head cradled in her arms, sunning herself. She was sleek and well-toned, with graceful legs that went from firm, muscular thighs down to slender ankles and feet. The black and silver of the bikini pants made a nice contrast against her black-spotted, golden-yellow fur, and as near as I could tell that was about their only real contribution since the cut of the cloth left an extremely generous portion of each shapely buttock exposed to view. Her tail lay mostly limp along one leg, the tip twitching slowly every so often. Her fur had been carefully brushed and combed to a healthy, appealing luster, and I just stood there for a moment, appreciating the overall view of her.” (p. 39)