Fletch (1974) by Gregory McDonald
Most of the plot from this, the first Fletch novel, is the same as the movie. There are some character changes and changed premises (most of which are listed below).
Our hero, I.M. "Fletch" Fletcher is posing as a drug addicted drifter in order to crack a story on the supply of drugs to the beach. Fletch is approached and hired by a man named Alan Stanwyk to kill him. Mr. Stanwyk says he is dying of cancer and says he does not wish to go through the pain. Fletch finds this curious and bites to find a story. One by one Fletch interviews Stanwyks wife, parents, doctor, insurance agent, in laws, and friends. He does this by giving false names and using information gathered by previous questioning (Fletch does not use disguises as in the movie). At the same time he continues his investigation of the beach. The two mysteries wrap up in the closing chapters and Fletch ends up with $3,000,000 which sets him up for future installments of the Fletch series.
The first Fletch novel is probably the best of the Fletch novels in my opinion. Its fast, funny and like most of the Fletch novels there are hardly any descriptive passages. Almost the entire book is dialogue. While not as purely comedic as the movie, the book features quite a few laugh-out-loud passages and is more worthy of any Fletch fans time.
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