The Color of Greed
Andrew Dewar was a graduate of the journalism program at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in Toronto, and on the staff of the North York Public Library.
The Color of Greed is an amateur’s attempt to imitate professionals; Valcour tries very hard to write a Raymond Chandler mystery, but he fails.
It would not be fair to say, though, that the book is not a good read. It is enjoyable and, while not particularly well put together, still suspenseful enough to keep the attention.
The mystery involves the legend of hidden gold in the small town of Scottsville; two murders, twenty years apart, have been connected with the legend. Lawyer Dan Carver, looking for the missing Arthur Devlin, begins to see the connection and determines to solve the crime (his reward being Devlin’s beautiful daughter Tern).
The crucial piece of information, however, turns up in a most improbable way — as though Valcour didn’t know how to introduce it. The characters have occasional moments of life but are mostly cardboard, especially the women. And Valcour’s feeble hard-boiled style is a source of constant amusement: lemonade is “the tart pink liquid that rippled lazily in the heavy pitcher”; Carver asks questions like “What’s a Zeke Tanner when it’s at home?”; or, “...both men began to wonder if the parolee had taken a long walk. The double click of two shotgun hammers being locked into place told them they were wrong.” And so on.
Despite its faults as a mystery, the book is a very congenial read.