Since I read and enjoyed Elmore Leonard's Carl Webster collection COMFORT TO THE ENEMY not long ago, I thought I might as well go ahead and read UP IN HONEY'S ROOM, the other full-length novel featuring the gunslinging federal marshal from Oklahoma (following THE HOT KID).
I'm glad I read them in the order I did, since this book is a direct sequel to "Comfort to the Enemy", the title novella from that collection. UP IN HONEY'S ROOM finds Carl going to Detroit during the waning days of World War II to chase down a couple of Germans who escaped from a POW camp in
. Once he gets there, he finds himself involved with the sometimes dangerous escapades of an amateur German spy ring operating in the city. He also becomes involved with Honey Deal, a free-spirited young woman who was once married to one of those would-be German spies. Oklahoma
There's a lot of comedy in this one, along with a more serious plot at its center and some occasional outbreaks of violence. As always, Leonard does a good job with the dialogue and the characters, and the storyline doesn't seem to wander around as much as in some other Leonard novels. There are a few digressions, but mostly it's full speed ahead. The period details are good, not too heavy-handed but enough to create an atmosphere of the American homefront during World War II. I sometimes have a problem with the way Leonard's novels seem to peter out and don't have a strong ending. This one is okay, although I thought it could have been a little more dramatic.
Overall, UP IN HONEY'S ROOM is a pretty entertaining novel. I don't know if he plans to write any more about Carl Webster, but if he does, there's a good chance I'll read it.