Crooked Man: A Hard-Boiled but Humorous New Orleans Mystery (Tubby Dubonnet Series #1) (The Tubby Dubonnet Series), by Tony Dunbar
The FIRST offbeat mystery in the TUBBY DUBONNET series, by Anthony- and Edgar-nominated author Tony Dunbar.
If a gym bag of cash fell into your hands, what would you do to keep it?
A simple man with a refined palate, maverick New Orleans lawyer Tubby Dubonnet has a penchant for fishing, Old Fashioneds, off-track betting, and fighting evil while passing a good time.
His clients are all renegades from the asylum (aka Orleans Parish), including a transvestite entertainer, a buxom deadbeat blonde, a doctor who refers his own patients to a malpractice lawyer, and a Mardi Gras reveler who drives a float shaped like a giant crawfish pot. He also has his hands full with an ex-wife and three teenage daughters, who are experts in the art of wrapping Tubby around their little fingers. And somehow, between work and family, Tubby finds time to sample the highs and lows of idiosyncratic Crescent City cuisine, from trout meuniere amandine and French roast coffee with chicory to shrimp po-boys and homemade pecan pralines.
Tubby's new client is Darryl Alvarez, the manager of a local nightclub who's been caught unloading marijuana from a shrimp boat. At their first meeting, Darryl entrusts Tubby with an ordinary-looking blue gym bag. But after Darryl's unfortunate demise, Tubby realizes he must tighten his grasp on the gym bag -- and its million-dollar contents.
Tubby can’t just give up the cash. But if he gets caught, he’ll be in jail. And if the wrong people catch him, he’ll wish he was.
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Meet the Author
Tony Dunbar started writing at quite a young age. When he was 12, growing up in Atlanta, he told people that he was going to be a writer, but it took him until the age of 19 to publish his first book, Our Land Too, based on his civil rights experiences in the Mississippi delta. For entertainment, Tony turned not to television but to reading mysteries such as dozens of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe stories. Among his favorites are: Dashiell Hammett, author of The Maltese Falcon, and Tony Hillerman, and John D. MacDonald, and Mickey Spillane, and...
He has lived in New Orleans for a long, long time, and in addition to writing mysteries and more serious fare he attended Tulane Law School and continues an active practice involving, he says, "money." That practice took a hit in the Hurricane Katrina flooding, but the experience did produce a seventh Tubby Dubonnet mystery novel, Tubby Meets Katrina.
The Tubby series so far comprises seven books: The Crime Czar, City of Beads, Crooked Man, Shelter from the Storm, Trick Question, Lucky Man, and Tubby Meets Katrina. The main character, Tony says, is the City of New Orleans itself, the food, the music, the menace, the party, the inhabitants. But Tubby Dubonnet is the actual protagonist, and he is, like the author, a New Orleans attorney. Unlike the author, however, he finds himself involved in serious crime and murder, and he also eats exceptionally well. He is "40 something," the divorced father of three daughters, a collector of odd friends and clients, and he is constantly besieged by ethical dilemmas. But he is not fat; he is a former jock and simply big.
Tony's writing spans quite a few categories and is as varied as his own experiences. He has written about people's struggle for survival, growing out of his own work as a community organizer in Mississippi and Eastern Kentucky. He has written about young preachers and divinity students who were active in the Southern labor movement in the 1930s, arising from his own work with the Committee of Southern Churchmen and Amnesty International. He has written and edited political commentary, inspired by seeing politics in action with the Voter Education Project. And he has had the most fun with the mysteries, saying, "I think I can say everything I have to say about the world through the medium of Tubby Dubonnet."
Hurricane Katrina and the floods, which caused the mandatory evacuation of New Orleans for months, blew Tony into an off-resume job serving meals in the parking lot of a Mississippi chemical plant to hundreds of hardhats imported to get the complex dried out and operating. It also gave Tony time to write Tubby Meets Katrina, which was the first published novel set in the storm. It is a little grimmer than most of the books in the series, describing as it does the chaos in the sparsely populated city immediately after the storm. "It was a useful way for me to vent my anger," Tony says. Still, even in a deserted metropolis stripped of electric power. Tubby manages to find a good meal.
The Tubby Dubonnet series has been nominated for both the Anthony Award and the Edgar Allen Poe Award. While the last one was published in 2006, the author says he is now settling down to write again. But about what? "Birds and wild flowers," he suggests. Or "maybe television evangelists." Or, inevitably, about the wondrous and beautiful city of New Orleans.