The Carter Brown mysteries can be hit or miss, such is the nature of a dime-store pulp hack, the novels often being churned out within quick succession of one another, written with little to no editorial influence. Luckily, THE SCARLET FLUSH falls into the 'hit' category.
Down on his luck and in debt to the house for over ten thousand dollars, gambler Mike Farrell finds himself staring at a bottomless pit; one that sucks the cash and life right out of him. Putting all he has on 0 at the roulette wheel in a last chance high risk, high reward stake; he nails the risk but not the reward. Soon he's hustled into a back office by a couple of heavies thinking he's about to get a beating, only to be confronted by a dame to kill for; a curvy blonde with a heart-shaped face and a body that draws the eye in all the right places. The kicker - she's also got a proposal that'll not only clear Mikes' debt but leave him twenty thousand dollars richer.
All Mike has to do is impersonate Mike Kluger, a jewel thief who is due to return home to a lovely and lonely wife after seven years in prison. Sure, he just happens to 'look' like Kluger, but can he pull of 'being' Kluger in order to find where the hidden diamonds have been stashed all these years?
The Scarlet Flush is cheesy and entertaining. Every woman Farrell encounters (bar one, I should mention) is gorgeous and willing to drop their inhibitions as quickly as they are to drop love laced one liners. While the criminal element itself plays out in page turning anticipation. There's even a crafty twist involving Kluger's wife I didn't see coming.
The Scarlet Flush, originally published in 1963, is hands down one of my favorite Carter Brown books and well worth tracking down.