Boston Cream by Howard Shrier

This is the third Jonah Geller novel (follows Buffalo Jump and High Chicago) and takes place Boston Creammostly in Boston. As seen by Harinder Patel, Boston “was an agreeable city by any standard, other than the weather, and with so many excellent universities, he’d had high hopes that his son Sanjay would enter one of the professions. Sadly, he had not. He was studying marketing communications. Harinder had bought a house with a ground-floor business but it was old and drafty and in a very poor location. He was behind in his payments and afraid he would lose the business. One night when he was about to close up two threatening men enter and turn the sign around so it reads CLOSED from the outside. They place an envelope on the counter  with five thousand dollars in it. They offer him fifty thousand to show up when and where they tell him. They press a brass bullet into his hand and tell him that is what he will get if he turns them down. Harinder has no idea what they want.

Anyway, the main setting is Boston but for those readers who like Jonah Geller’s Toronto connections the story starts in Toronto and there are references to Riverdale and the Don River Valley and the Bathurst and Lawrence area in the northwest. Jonah also goes to visit a couple living “at the wrong end of Glengrove Avenue, west of the Allen Road.” The fellow he meets has an optometry shop in a “strip mall on Marlee Street” and his wife was principal of a Jewish day school on Bathurst Street. It is this man who will connect Jonah to Boston because his son, David, has been missing in Boston for two weeks.

David is a transplant fellow at Sinai Hospital in Boston. Jonah suggests that David’s father would be better off to get a Boston investigator. David’s father ,however, had heard something of Jonah’s style of working that impressed him enough to want to get Jonah: “…you don’t give up, Jonah. That you never have since you started out, not even once. No matter what happened to anyone. You break a few dishes, he said, but you keep at it. You don’t care who you piss off, pardon my language…he said you play above your weight. I’m not a big sports fan, but I know what that means.”

Jonah’s response: “You’ll get my best.”

So Jonah and his partner Jenn go to Boston to find out what happened to David Fine and also end up finding out what happened to Harinder Patel who, it turns out, had vanished a week before David Fine.

There are other references to Toronto as well: “Harvard Street around Coolidge Corner was a lot like Eglinton West in Toronto.” About Cambridge: “It reminded me a lot of the Annex at home, the streets lined with bookstores, cafés and indie restaurants.”

If you haven’t tried a Jonah Geller mystery, go out and grab yourself a copy of Buffalo Jump and get started. You won’t regret it.

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