The Soft Centre

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The Soft Centre
First edition
Author James Hadley Chase
Cover artist Barbara Walton
Language English
Genre Crime novel
Publisher Robert Hale, 1964
Pages 190 pp

The Soft Centre is a work of detective fiction by James Hadley Chase, first published in Great Britain by Robert Hale Ltd. in 1964.[1] The novel in set in Chase's fictional city "Paradise City" and was the first novel to introduce Detective Tom Lepski.

Plot summary[edit]

Val Burnett's husband, Chris, has had a near-fatal head injury and has now been brought to the Spanish Bay Hotel, Paradise City, to lie in the sun-and-sands and recuperate. He is almost a zombie by now, although there is hope of recovery. One day he vanishes from the Spanish Bay Hotel, to be found the next day, roaming around in a disheveled state on the highway. The same day, a prostitute, Sue Parnell, is found ripped apart in a nearby motel room. So far no connection but a cigarette lighter presented to Chris by Val, is found at the scene of the crime.

The adventure begins with Valerie Burnett, the daughter of a multimillionaire, and her husband Chris in the Spanish Bay Hotel with advice to get some relaxation in the Miami sun especially after Chris had received brain injuries from a car accident.In a shabby second-rate motel on the outskirts of Florida an attractive blonde was found savagely murdered. On the same night Chris Burnett disappeared.

Police investigated but when the case proved too much for them, Joan Parnell, the sister of the dead woman, went to seek The Hare Investigating Agency to find her sister’s killer. They stumbled on enough evidence that turned them greedy.


  1. ^ Bloom, Clive. Bestsellers: popular fiction since 1900. Palgrave MacMillan, 2002.