My Bouchercon 2016 panel: Peter Rabe and Murder Me For Nickels
The Box (great title, terrific book), Kill the Boss Goodbye (crap title, excellent book), Benny Muscles In, A Shroud for Jesso, and Dig My Grave Deep all take up the theme, and that's just among the Rabe novels I've read.
Rabe's 1960 novel Murder Me For Nickels (great title, damn fine book) states the theme in a comic tone that shift from major key to minor, its mordant wisecracks where least expected gradually shifting to a tone of real menace.
The opening line is typical: "Walter Lippit makes music all over own." Sounds jaunty, even whimsical, but Lippit is a gangster who controls the local juke-box racket.
“`You think, Jacky, with the pull you have in this company, we could all get another cup of coffee?'
“I did not think I could go through another five, or let’s say, three and a half minutes like this, even without sweet roll time. So I said no, I didn’t want to take advantage."
© Peter Rozovsky 2016