Dane is a fairly typical 1950s Manhattan private-eye who is summoned to the home of a wealthy industrialist seeking to engage his services. The client has an attractive 18 year-old daughter named Diane whose diary was stolen. The old man isn’t particularly worried about this, but his daughter is freaking out and wants a PI on the job — so here we are. The suspect is a Spanish Harlem Mexican hood, who apparently stole the journal while doing some work at the estate.
When Dane makes his jaunt into Spanish Harlem, he quickly learns that the gig isn’t going to be as easy as he thought. Lurking in the background of the mystery is the specter of big-city politics and a race between two candidates to recover the diary and its secrets. There’s also a murder, and that’s the real mystery to be solved. Could the contents of a teenage girl’s diary be worth committing a homicide?
Dane’s engagement evolves into a bodyguard duty looking after the horny Diane, and there’s some sexy seduction within the pages of this 69 year-old paperback. Overall, this was a rather enjoyable, if insubstantial, private-eye mystery. While the Timothy Dane series isn’t the high point of Ard’s body of work, The Diary is a solid installment from a prolific young author whose life was cut short way too soon. It’s good to see publishers keeping his body of work alive.