Warren Murphy. Pigs Get Fat (1985) 252 pp. [pbo]
In the fifth entry of Murphy’s Trace series, Las Vegas insurance investigator Devlin “Trace” Tracy and his Japanese-Italian, blackjack-dealer, part-time-hooker girlfriend Michiko “Chico” Mangini go to San Francisco with Chico’s mother to attend a convention of American citizens born in Japan. Although he tells his boss at Garrison Fidelity that hes on vacation, Trace takes his tape-recording equipment along, just in case. This turns out to be a good idea. Since most of the convention is held in Japanese, Trace finds that hes got enough time on his hands to look into the case of Thomas Collins, a missing real estate magnate, who recently took out a large insurance policy on himself. As Trace works his way through a series of Collins’ wives, girlfriends, secretaries, and prostitutes, he uncovers a trail of blackmail and murder.
Editor’s note: Winner of the 1986 Edgar for Best Paperback Original, even though the hero is misogynistic, homophobic, alcoholic, and border-line racist.
Setting: San Francisco