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False teeth and leisure suits – spot the detective

By September 17, 2020One Comment

Homicide Detective Hoke Moseley might be based in Miami, but he’s a long way from the glitter and sophistication of  TV’s Crockett and Tubbs.

Not for him the designer jackets with rolled-up sleeves and sockless slip-ons. Instead, he alternates wash ‘n’ wear polyester leisure suits.

Instead of gleaming flawless teeth, his pale blue-grey dentures are the first thing anyone notices about him.

And the women in his life consist of two difficult teenage daughters and a heavily-pregnant (and homeless)  Latina cop as a partner.

Charles Willeford’s creation is probably the high point of a prolific and varied writing career.

Hoke has seen it all, and had it beat, bruise and disappoint him.  In his mid-forties, his career is going nowhere, if not downhill.

And yet Hoke’s downbeat, hangdog approach somehow works out. He catches the bad guys, even manages to steer a course between the twin difficulties of irate superiors and demanding family.

The books are full of wry, understated humour, while never forgetting that Hoke has a dangerous, difficult job that could get him killed.

Hoke’s worn-out and rundown city of low-rent Miami is worlds apart from the sports cars and yachts of ‘Miami Vice’.

And in my opinion, all the more interesting and enjoyable because of it.