"The Big Store," by Terence Faherty, in Monkey Business:Crime Fiction Inspired by the Films of the Marx Brothers, edited by Josh Pachter, Untreed Reads, 2021.
I have a story in this book.
This is the eighth appearance in this space by my fellow SleuthSayer Terence Faherty.
Last week I wrote about a story in this book that gave us a view of the Marx Brothers as they might have appeared in real life Today we go to the opposite extreme with a story that could be a sequel to the movie in question - and it's odd that such a bad movie could lead to such a good story.
Our narrator is private eye Wolf J. Flywheel. Groucho's character. Based on his success in saving Martha Phelps' department store in the movie he now has an office in her shop and is pursuing his detective business while also pursuing the boss.
"Martha, Martha, Martha. I could say her name a million times. Once for every greenback she has in the bank."
If his motives are less than pure, his language is pretty hilarious, and convincingly Marxist.
"The department store business is one tough racket. Machine Gun Kelly once tried to return a violin case to Macy’s without a receipt and ended up kissing the sidewalk."
I won't go into the plot. Let's just say mischief is afoot and Flywheel has to rush to the rescue with the assistance, if that;s the word I'm searching for, of an Italian blackmailer and a silent harpist. Good times.