Tuesday, November 6, 2012

God Save the Mark

Well, I'm embarrassed to say that I must have been hiding under a rock. I'm not always up with slang, but for some reason, I've always equated "God Save the Mark" as a reference to the German currency! So imagine my surprise when I opened this 1968 Edgar winner and found the "mark" to be none other than Fred Fitch, a  man completely gullible, someone who is a mark for every easy con in the book.

After getting over the shock of that, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Fred Fitch inherits $317,000 from an uncle he's never met before. At first he's concerned because he's the softest of soft touches and he knows that in no time, he'll be parted from his money.

But it soon becomes obvious that he has bigger problems when bullets fly past him and cars follow him. Someone else wants that money and is willing to kill for it.

I first discovered Donald Westlake when he wrote The Ax. I found it and read it while GE was in the midst of one of its never-ending layoffs. For a guy who likes his mysteries funny, I fell in love instantly. I've read 1/2 dozen more over the years and they never fail to satisfy my funny bone.

Even though God Save the Mark is nearly as old as me, I found the book to be surprisingly undated in terms of New York City and the environs.

I got this book for my Kindle on a free day and I'm definitely going back for more.