Good old Stanley, always willing to do a favor. Stanley Hastings, the worst private detective in New York--maybe in the known universe--enters the big league. When asked to investigate Sergeant MacAullif's son-in-law, Stanley gets himself into trouble yet again. Doing favors can create a lot of problems. When Stanley takes on the case, he ends up doing one more favor than he expected: he unwittingly takes the blame for the questionable dealings of MacAullif's son-in-law. Now he must find a way out of this mess. Maybe he'll learn to be more cautious next time he's asked to do a favor.
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June 01, 2001
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Excerpt from Favor by Parnell Hall
"I have a daughter."
There was no reason for me to be surprised. MacAullif certainly had every right to have a daughter. After all, he was somewhere around fifty, and he was a big, solid, virile-looking man, presumably capable of having produced any number of daughters. He wasn't the handsomest man in the world by any stretch of the imagination, but he wasn't the ugliest either, and it wasn't inconceivable that in his youth he had been attractive and agreeable enough to have wooed and wed a young lady and raised a family. So there was no reason for me to be surprised.
But I was.
You see, MacAullif was a cop.
I know that doesn't make any sense. That's because the fault did not lie in MacAullif, or in his being a cop, but in me. You see, my problem is my view of the world is colored by my own personal preconceptions and misconceptions. And one of my severe failings is an inability to attribute personal lives to people I meet on a professional basis. That is to say, if I'm being examined by the doctor, I tend to think of him as a doctor, and it doesn't occur to me that maybe he has a wife he wants to get home to, or perhaps he has a cold.
And with cops, it's ten times worse. Cops are authority figures. They're intimidating. They're the law. Somehow, you never really think of a cop as having a family. Except cops that get shot, of course. Cops who get shot inevitably have a wife and at least three kids. But the cops who pull you over and give you a ticket never have any families at all.
Now MacAullif was not only a cop, he was a homicide cop, and a sergeant to boot. I'd met him in the course of two homicide investigations. The first time had been in passing. The second time had been longer, seeing as how I'd been cast in the role of the murder suspect. So I'd gotten to know him pretty well.