What’s your image of a detective? Sherlock Holmes in his deerslayer hat, magnifying glass at the ready? Humphrey Bogart as the tough guy, a cigarette hanging out of his mouth? A femme fatale in a revealing red evening gown, slowly and seductively pulling information from some unwitting male?
Meet Lenny Moss. He mops bathroom floors and hospital hallways. The helpful guy who takes great pride in a job well done with a mop, bucket and polishing rag.
Lenny’s also a union member, shop steward for his fellow hospital orderlies, cooks, cleaners and janitors. He’s not shy about workers’ rights and continually in management’s eye as a trouble-maker.
And along the way, he solves a murder or two.
Very much in the modern world of for-profit medicine, Lenny’s hospital, James Madison in Philadelphia, has just been eaten by sharks. Not the kind with fins, but sharks whose weapon in the bottom line, trying to streamline care for the elderly, poor and working folk, while planning a boutique hospital for the wealthy.
The hospital is claiming they can’t meet their pension obligations. That they have not been paying into the pension fund is not mentioned. Hard working retirees and workers counting down the days are outraged. The workers look to Lenny for some surreptitious activity to put the hospital on edge and push the issue. Can Lenny pull it off and not get fired?
Meanwhile, a young nurse, a very conscientious, well-trained young nurse, has had a patient die suspiciously during her watch. Is she the murderer or was she set up? Everyone is looking for Lenny -- the nurses’ co-workers, retirees, disgruntled workers and the flat-footed hospital security guards assigned to watch his every move.
Someone has to Die is the seventh Lenny Moss mystery from author Tim Sheard. Sheard is a former hospital nurse and union activist, who knows well not only union issues, but also life in a major hospital. He founded Hardball Press to publish working class writers, both fiction and non-fiction works.
Someone has to Die, by Timothy Sheard, Hardball Press, ISBN 978-0-9862400-6-5 $15.00
Reviewed by Mike Matejka