Hugh Pentecost's name came up as a question to librarians the other day, and I remembered how much I used to love the Pierre Chambrun mysteries. Pentecost was a pseudonym for Judson Philips, who wrote other series under the Pentecost name, including the Uncle George mysteries, the John Jericho ones, and the Julian Quest books. But, my favorites were the Pierre Chambrun books, set in one of New York's finest hotels.
Chambrun was a resistance fighter during World War II, and that experience is helpful with some of the problems that occur in a luxury hotel. He's now the suave hotel manager of the Hotel Beaumont. The hotel has permanent residents and a nightclub, and those elements are sometimes important in the course of the series. When hotel security encounters problems, everything from murder to theft to espionage, Chambrun steps in with the help of Mark Haskell, the hotel's public relations director, and the narrator of the stories.
By situating the stories in a luxury hotel, Pentecost was able to deal with the worlds of the rich and famous. Race car drivers, tycoons, wealthy widows, writers, politicians and celebrities visit the hotel, and often die there, or cause other problems for the staff.
The Pierre Chambrun mysteries were written between 1962 and 1988. I know I read them in the same period I read Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe mysteries. These were books that, like Stout's, had a witty, single narrator, who reported cases involving his boss. I'm sorry they are not as well known as the Nero Wolfe books, because I remember enjoying Pierre Chambrun's world.
Some of Hugh Pentecost's books are still in print. If you're a fan of Nero Wolfe, these are worth trying to find. Or, if you just want a good traditional mystery, set in New York City, check these out.