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The Pot Thief Who Studied Einstein
by J. Michael Orenduff
Release Date: 12/10/10
Genre: Mystery
Pages:
Publisher: Aakenbaaken
Format ISBN Price
Print 978-1938436024 14.95
Author Page: J. Michael Orenduff


Summary Excerpt Comments

 

 The Pot Thief Who Studied Einstein                              

Winner of the prestigious “Lefty Award” for

Best Humorous Mystery of the Year.

 

The third book in the series opens with Hubie riding blindfolded to the house of a reclusive collector of Anasazi pottery who wants an appraisal of his collection and insists on the blindfold to keep secret the location of the valuable cache. During the appraisal, Hubie discovers three of the pots are not genuine. He should know—they are copies he himself made. After Hubie completes his appraisal, the collector pays his fee by placing twenty-five crisp hundred dollar bills into Hubie’s shirt pocket. The blindfold is reapplied and Hubie is driven home only to discover after the driver has left him off that the fee is no longer in his pocket. He can’t return to the house with the collection because he doesn’t know its location, but he does remember Segundo Cantú, the person who commissioned him to make the copies. Hubie figures Cantú is the real owner of the pots, and the guy at the appraisal must have been an associate sent by Cantú who wanted to avoid answering questions Hubie would inevitably ask.

At least Hubie does have Cantú’s address, and Susannah suggests they recreate the blindfolded ride. She drives him from his pottery shop to Cantú’s address. The distance and number of turns seem about right so far as Hubie can recall, but of course he can’t be certain, so he embarks on an abortive attempt to stake out the house, reading a book about Einstein to pass the time.  He eventually decides the house is empty and works up the nerve to commit a B & E. He is pleased to discover that the house looks exactly like the one that held the collection. He is less pleased to discover that the house is empty except for an old Cadillac convertible in the garage.  Susannah hotwires the car, leaving a note advising Cantú to place an ad in the personals in order to get his car back.

Whit Fletcher of the Albuquerque PD asks Hubie to identify a body at the morgue. Notoriously squeamish, Hubie tries to wiggle out of the task, but when Whit starts asking about the Cadillac convertible, Hubie decides he’d better cooperate. Hubie tells Whit the truth — he can’t name the victim. But he does recognize him. It’s the man who was with the collection when Hubie did the appraisal. 

Hubie is then the victim of a drive-by shooting, but he survives because the bullet hit the book on Einstein he was still struggling to complete and had stuck in the chest pocket of his coat. The bullet penetrated all the way to chapter 37, which, Hubie later observes, was a lot further than he had gotten in it.

Hubie’s almost monastic life is changed by two unexpected love interests— Dolly Madison Aguirre, the daughter of his former high school history teacher, and the exotic long-limbed Izuanita. Between juggling two romances, Hubie must discover the identity of the dead man and the whereabouts of Segundo Cantú, a task made surreal when the dead man also turns out to be named Segundo Cantú. 

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