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The Big Brush-off

(A Jake & Laura Mystery #4)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  104 ratings  ·  55 reviews
The irresistible Jake & Laura return in Michael Murphy's witty, fast-paced mystery series—perfect for readers of Dorothy Cannell and Christopher Fowler. In The Big Brush-off, the charming and indomitable duo heads to the Midwest to solve a chilling cold case of a young girl's murder.

Blackie Doyle is dying. That's what Jake Donovan's literary agent tells him. Sales are fal
Kindle Edition, 237 pages
Published February 9th 2016 by Alibi
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Average rating 4.18  · 
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Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Jack & Laura are back in a new adventure!

In this book, Jack and Laura travel to Hanover, Pennsylvania, because Jack needs somewhere where he can start a new Blackie Doyle book. His agent Mildred has strictly told him that he must write a really good book or less his contract won't be renewed. But Jack also has another reason for choosing Hanover as the town to stay as he writes his first chapters. Jack's last case for Pinkerton was in Hanover. And, the last case is a case that he has never forg
The Shayne-Train
Dec 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Another amazingly-written home run for Michael Murphy.

This series does not lose any of its cool as it progresses. Jake and Laura are back with a vengeance, this time cleaning up some things Jake left unfinished from his old Pinkerton days.

I said in the review of book #3 that it doesn't matter where these books are set, that the characters bring noir excitement and thrilling whodunits with them where ever they go. I was proved o so very right by this installment, set in a small bucolic town, far
I am so grateful to have this book pointed out to me or I might not have encountered this delightful historical mystery series involving the colorful and brilliant detecting pair, Jake and Laura. The author drew me in to their mid-1930's era world where this newly married pair brush shoulders with iconic historical figures of the time in their respective roles of best-selling writer and movie starlet making them even more exciting mystery solvers. Hard-boiled detective fiction meets cheeky roman ...more
Sep 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The brilliant writing continues by this highly talented mystery writer! This author has a witty, era appropriate writing style which draws the reader into the time and scenarios, making you feel as though you are there witnessing and partaking in events. There are references to people and events from that time (though not as many as in earlier novels) and it all blends superbly to make this a fantastic murder mystery that keeps you guessing.

In this story, Jake and Laura are married and Laura is
Feb 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Originally published at Reading Reality

By this point in Jake and Laura’s life, and the Jake and Laura mystery series, our heroes have come a long way from their hard-knocks childhoods in Queens.

And while the fame and fortune is wonderful, it unfortunately also means that Jake Donovan seems to have lost his ability to channel Blackie Doyle, the struggling private eye who is the hero of his best-selling mystery series.

At the beginning, Jake was Blackie, a former cop and former Pinkerton detective
Dec 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Yay, Jake and Laura are back. There's not a lot of name dropping this time as the scene is set in a small town. They are the ones who's names are being dropped. This time, Jake's novels are becoming lackluster and he's being asked to look into a ten year old cold case. And no one in this small town wants a ten year old murder being brought back up.

Of course, Jake and Laura are their gracious selves, and conduct their lives inn the Hollywood way they've come to live by. Laura is being pestered to
Karen R
Jan 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
The story takes place in the 1930’s during the days of gumshoes, dames, wise guys and broads, using a reliable formula in Ellery Queen fashion. My first foray into the world of Mike Murphy’s Jake & Laura Mysteries was an enjoyable one. Multiple suspects with plausible motives along with some red herrings thrown in kept me guessing until the end. Crime-fighting Jake and Laura make for unlikely team but turn out to be perfect partners as they race against time to solve a 10-year old cold case as ...more
Linda Baker
Jan 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Everything seems to be going Laura's way in her acting career. She has a couple of big movies under her belt and is in demand for even more prestigious projects. On the other hand, Jake's writing career is in danger. Despite several best-sellers his editor, Mildred, feels that Jake has lost touch with his gumshoe hero, Blackie Doyle. She has rejected his rough draft of the first few chapters of a new book and demanded a re-write. He has one chance to prove himself or lose his contract with Empir ...more
Feb 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
A Hollywood Couple Solve a Small Town Mystery

Ten years ago, Jake left Hanover, Pennsylvania with the unsolved murder of a teenage girl behind him. His father had a stroke and needed him. Today with his writing career on the skids, Jake is faced with the mother of the girl. She's dying and wants him to come back and solve the case to give her closure.

Jake is undecided. Laura has just finished a film and needs to return to Hollywood, and he needs to work on his novel, but the desire to finish the
Lisa B.
Mar 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Jack is a former detective turned author. His writing career has hit a bit of a road block, and he needs to get his mojo back. Jake is married to Laura, an actress. Laura’s career has really taken off and she’s in hot demand. Jake’s publisher thinks he needs to escape the Hollywood high life in order to get his writing career back on track. To do this, Jake and Laura return to small town Hanover. Together they work to solve a murder mystery that Jake had to walk away from 10 years earlier withou ...more
Feb 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Blackie Doyle's life is in danger and only Jake can save him. This latest installment in the Jake & Laura series finds them returning to Jake's roots in Hanover, Pennsylvania, where he once worked for the famous Pinkerton Agency. While he tries to close the books on an unsolved crime from years ago, Blackie's fate hangs in the balance.

I can't think of a better way to end the year than by reading more about one of my favorite literary crime-solving teams, and this year was no exception. I love t
PopcornReads - MkNoah
You may recall that I read Book #2 in Michael Murphy’s Depression Era mystery series, All That Glitters, first and liked it so much that I went back and read Book #1, The Yankee Club. Now Book #3 is out, The Big Brush-Off, and I couldn’t wait to see what kind of shenanigans our ex-Pinkerton agent turned mystery author and Broadway-turned-Hollywood starlet would get into next. If you haven’t read Books #1 or #2, links to our reviews of those appear at the end of this article. If you like clever r ...more
Jay Williams
Dec 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Each of the Jake and Laura books is a great read, and this is one of the best. The scene shifts from the glamour of Hollywood to New York and rural Pennsylvania, Embedded in a great mystery surrounding a decade-old crime is an analysis of the relationship Jake has to the world and to Laura, as his convictions are tested. It is definitely a deeper insight into Jake than previous books in this series.
James William
Sep 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A Michael Murphy Jake & Laura mystery always takes me to a time when problems could be solved with a right cross or a quick wit.
Dec 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Net galley!
Awesome! Please keep them coming Michael Murphy! Looking forward to what comes next for Jake & Laura!
Though these books do not push any boundaries, they are fun to read. The characters are well-drawn and fit in perfectly to the millieu.
Sep 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 3.5 of 5

Over the course of the last two years I've read and reviewed over 200 books. I would say that most of them have been better than average and I've read some that have really interested me in some new authors and/or series'. But one of my absolute favorites is the 'Jake & Laura Mystery' series by Michael Murphy. I will drop everything to read a Jake & Laura story.

But every series has its ups and downs. The mark of a true fa
Angie Boyter
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Best-selling mystery writer Jake Donovan has (at least) two problems. Ten years ago, in 1925, he had to leave his last case as a Pinkerton detective unsolved when he was called to the bedside of his dying father. The teen-aged victim’s mother is now terminally ill herself and asks Jake to resume investigating her daughter’s murder, which she says none of the authorities is interested in solving. In addition, Jake’s editor tells him that his series is getting stale; his sales are slumping; and th ...more
Bree Garcia
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I know I say this every time (maybe it's just in my head or to my cat), but this was my favorite one. Everything has been going easy for Jake and Laura, and that was so hard to take, especially since these are written during the Great Depression. But neither of these two have had easy lives, so I didn't begrudge them having a good life now. Honestly, they've been living in a whirlwind of love and celebrities, so their happy existence was kind of background noise.

Until this one.

Jake gets the memo
Eustacia Tan
Apr 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
A writer and a mystery? Yes please!

The Big Brush-Off is billed as a "Jake and Laura mystery". It's also book four in the series, which explains how some things about the relationship between Jake and Laura felt like there was previous history the reader was expected to know. However, the plot itself can definitely stand alone.

Basically, Jake has had his latest manuscript rejected, and has to deliver a completely new, fantastic couple of first chapters before he can think about getting another co
Jennifer Ritter
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing

The Big Brush-off is number four in Michael Murphy's Jake and Laura mystery series. Although this is a part of a series it is a stand alone with enough information to understand continuity but not so much as to be redundant for a series enthusiast.

In this tale, it is 1935 and we find mystery writer Jake Donovan and his movie starlet wife Laura Wilson in New York City where Laura is just wrapping up shooting on her latest movie. While in New York, Jake is meeting with his publisher, Mildred, to d
Scott Parsons
Dec 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adventure, dtetective
I enjoyed Michael Murphy's first Jake and Laura mystery noir, The Yankee Club. I was less impressed by the next two because it seemed like Jake was floating through the foppery of Hollywood and the glitter of Hawaii. He seemed to have lost the substance of the character in the Yankee Club.

In The Big Brush-Off Jake and Laura have returned to New York for a little while. In a meeting with his editor, Jake is told he is about to lose his publishing contract unless he re-energizes his detective Blac
Dec 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
1935. The Great Depression and massive numbers of Americans are still out of work despite Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal recovery programs, and Jake’s writing career may join the breadlines as well.
Of course his wife’s – Laura’s – film career is booming with an offer from the hottest Hollywood producer of the time.

And then Jake meets his past. Ten years before, he left his last Pinkerton case unsolved as he hurriedly left at news of his dad’s stroke to care of him – this unsolved case, a recurrin
John Purvis
Feb 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
"The Big Brush-off" was published in 2016 and was written by Michael Murphy ( Mr. Murphy has published several previous books. This is the 4th of the books in his "Jake & Laura Mysteries".

I received a galley of this novel for review through I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The setting of this Mystery is a small town in 1935 Pennsylvania. The primary characters are Jake Donovan, former private investigator and
Robert D
Mar 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Perhaps one of the best Jake and Laura books. This is a must read if you enjoy the Thin Man movie series or the Boston Blackie movie series.

Things have been going great since Jake Donovan reunited with his one true love, Laura Wilson. His writing career took off, Laura's acting career has made it big, occasionally he's had to solve a mystery or two that have cropped up. But overall, life could not be better for the two, they have money and fame during the depression. Then Jake's editor tells him
Mar 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
An enjoyable read set in 1935.

Prohibition has ended, the Depression is devastating the country and Amelia Earhart has just flown solo from Hawaii to the US West Coast.

As a successful author of the Blackie Doyle PI series, Jake Donovan’s latest book is rejected by his publisher. Mildred says he’s lost touch with his character now that his wife Laura Wilson’s acting career has made her a Hollywood name.

While in NYC Mary Caldwell, whose teenage daughter Katie’s murder was never solved, asks Jake to
Jan 31, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: e-books, arc
This was a new author for me. Jake Donovan's career is at a low ebb. His publisher has declined to offer a new contract for his mystery series. Laura's career is at its peak and she has it make. She is looking at a contract with a well-known leading man. Jake wants a quiet place where he can resurrect his character. The Duo selected Hanover, Pennsylvania, a small town where Jake left his last case unsolved. It is a murder of a teenager. The suspects are the boyfriend, a teacher and the priest. T ...more
Susan Johnston
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've enjoyed all the books of the series but this one is my favourite so far. Laura and Jake are back in NYC as she finished her latest film and Jake teeters on the brink of losing his career.
Ther latest Blackie Doyle book wasn't up to snuff and the new manuscript he has submitted is rejected by his editor. Jake is ready to quit but Laura understands what he has forfeited to support her career and is determined to help him find his muse.
Oddly enough, it comes to him when his is involved again in
Dec 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is such a good read!
It has all of the elements I like: a lovely and beautiful detective couple, a good murder, interesting characters and lots of glamour. And to top it off, there's the name dropping. Joan Crawford, Clark Gable or Dashiell Hammett, anyone?

Book 4 in the Jake and Laura series, set in the dazzling 30's, the book tells the story of Jake, a writer who is in a slump while his actor wife Laura is on her way to the top.

When an old cold case returns to haunt Jake's life, they
Nancy Neumann
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-reads
Thanks to NetGalley for a copy for review.

I have enjoyed the Jake and Laura Mysteries from the very beginning, but, I think that this entry was probably my favorite. In the past, I've felt that the brushes with celebrity often intruded upon the plot and, sometimes, the relationship between Jake and Laura. Michael Murphy chose to remove most of the celebrity element from this story and, as result, we see Jake at his gumshoe best aided by his ever capable partner, Laura.

Jake revisits an old case a
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Mystery Lovers!: This topic has been closed to new comments. Jake and Laura are back! 1 12 Feb 09, 2016 09:38AM  
Barnes & Noble Nook: Book Release Day 1 7 Feb 09, 2016 09:35AM  
Pulp Fiction: Book Release Day 1 10 Feb 09, 2016 09:17AM  
Goodreads Authors...: Release day! 1 4 Feb 09, 2016 09:15AM  
The Mystery, Crim...: Jake and Laura are back! 1 8 Feb 09, 2016 09:10AM  
NetGalley Readers: Book cover 3 36 Dec 15, 2015 08:57AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please combine 6 21 Dec 08, 2015 11:35AM  

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Journey back to the bright lights and dark alleys of Prohibition-era New York City, in the first Jake and Laura mystery, The Yankee Club.

If you'd like to get to know Jake and Laura better, take a sneak peak.





Other books in the series

A Jake & Laura Mystery (4 books)
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