Burton, Milton T. - THE ROGUES' GAME

THE ROGUES' GAME (Mystery-Texas-1947) – Ex Burton, Milton T. – 1st book
Thomas Dunn Books, 2005-Hardcover

A man arrives in a small Texas town in a Lincoln convertible with a beautiful blonde, opens a account at one of the two local banks, and establishes a cash relationship with a local cop for his help getting into the famous long-standing poker game and for favors in the future. His target is Clifton Robillard, the other local banker and owner of many of the town's more disreputable properties. But target for what and why?

What a wonderful book! This is a mystery about an elaborate grift set in Post WWII Texas at the start of the oil boom. All the characters are so well done and not stereotypical; Della, the beautiful blonde is also very business smart; Manlow Rhodes, the Presbyterian banker, "Chicken" Little, an old ex-con and breeder of gamecocks; Det. Ollie Marne, the cop on the take "would like to be a better man than his job and the circumstances in this town will allow him to be.", and many others including the protagonist who tells the story in retrospect. The plotting, sense of time and place, dialogue and tension are first-rate. There is a second standalone and a series on the way by Burton and you can bet I'm going to read them. Highly recommend.

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