Always a Body to Trade

Constantine, K.C. Always a Body to Trade. Boston: David R. Godine Publisher, 1983.

Reason read: January is national mystery month.

Someone has killed a nameless woman. Brutally shot her right in the face. It’s up to Chief of Police Mario Balzic to solve her murder only he has two problems: not much to go on in the way of clues, witnesses or suspects and a new mayor who is a little too eager, a little too young and more than a little too green to understand how crimes are solved. He wants this case put to bed yesterday.
The title of the book comes from the idea that in the ways of crime there is one rule: always have a body to trade; meaning there is an accomplice on who to rat if you get caught.

My only “issue” with Always a Body… was that I found it hard to believe the some of the things Balzic would say and do as being professional. I can’t see the chief of police readily admitting to a deputy warden that he had been drinking the night before and probably too much so. Another huge red flag was the fact that Balzic never followed up on leads. He always took them at face value…which made the ending completely predictable.

Like most mysteries, Always a Body… was laden with characters. I tracked 31 people before I gave up.

Author fact: According the back flap of Always a Body To Trade Constantine “belongs to the world Mario Balzic works in.”

Book trivia: Here is another irksome thing: Always a Body to Trade is part of a series. It’s actually the 6th book and the very first book, The Rocksburg Railroad Murders, is on my list. I’ve read them out of order…again.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “I Love A Mystery” (p 121)



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