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The Blue Moon Caper Book Review

by Kathleen Lance


After a devastating series of events in a previous novel by Phyllis Entis, The Gold Dragon Caper, Damien (Dick) and Millie Dickens have relocated to Carmel, California, and become consulting detectives to the local police forces. They have just begun investigating their first case when a call comes from Gus, their attorney in Atlantic City, with shocking news and an urgent plea for Dick to return.

With Dick on the East Coast investigating a murder, Millie is left on her own to solve a case of poisoning.

Theme of the Book

Along with the action and humor of the other books in the series comes a more serious theme of the strength and devotion of family in The Blue Moon Caper.

What I Liked About the Story

Dick and Millie are the perfect PI couple. Dick is cynical yet principled, hard-boiled but sympathetic. He is often impulsive and regularly manages to get himself into (and out of) dangerous situations. Millie is more emotional yet also has a practical side. She can use both her intelligence and her charm to win over clients and avoid danger. In this, the fifth novel in the series, Millie finally comes into her own as a detective.

The two cases involve family relationships that are essential to the development of the plot. In previous books in the series, family is also important, but this time the relationships are deeper. There is trust, devotion, and self-sacrifice, elements that were missing in the other novels. This time, the author has brought out a more serious side to the characters and inserted an element of tragedy along with the usual humor.

It is fascinating to read a story set in the 1980s with no mobile phones, no internet, and even more amazing, no overwhelming airport security. Imagine being able to arrive at the airport half an hour before a flight leaves, being able to change the name on a ticket with no investigation. The author has been meticulous in setting the scene, even including accurate street directions for the towns in which the story is set.

Although The Blue Moon Caper is part of a series and involves continuing characters, it can easily be read as a stand-alone. The author gives just enough background to each of the major and minor characters so that new readers will not be confused.

What I Didn’t Like About the Story

There is very little to dislike about the author's work. Readers who are sympathetic to the plight of animals may find the descriptions upsetting, but they are essential to the story.

As a devoted reader of the Dickens Detective Agency books, I was unhappy with what happened to Colin. I wish the author would have found a better resolution to the question of Colin and Millie.

Final Say

This is a wonderful series. It is not a cozy mystery series as there is plenty of violence involved in each case, but there are wonderful relationships between the characters, plenty of humor to go along with the noir aspects, and satisfying answers to problems. While it is not necessary to start with the first book in the series, it is highly recommended so that readers can enjoy the development of both characters and the relations between them.