You wouldn’t think the most ribald movie comic of his age would have a sentimental streak, but Groucho Marx is so sad that Peg McMorrow, a starlet he’d had a brief relationship with two years ago, is dead that he persuades Frank Denby, the former police reporter who’s writing his farcical new radio show, Groucho Marx, Master Detective, to see what he can get on the death. It doesn’t take long for Frank to find that the official verdict--suicide--is a lot of hooey. (Whatever finally killed Peg, she’d been beaten thoroughly first.) It doesn’t take him long to find that the cops are dead serious about burying the case. (A day after Peg’s death, they’ve already closed and vanished the case file, cremated the body, and scattered the ashes at sea.) And it doesn’t take him long to find Jane Danner, the comic-strip artist who’ll hold his hand and trade quips with Groucho while he’s waiting for the trail of blackmail and corruption to lead from blackmailing Peg to organized crime, the Bayside Police Department, and the upper reaches of Monarch Studios. Throughout the starlet-studded proceedings, Groucho is hilarious. Unfortunately, the non sequiturs that pepper his conversation so amusingly seem to have wormed their way into the helter-skelter mystery as well. Historical Hollywood background, celebrity cameos, rapid-fire patter, and ramshackle plotting: Veteran Goulart’s series debut is just the thing for readers who think George Baxt and Stuart Kaminsky aren’t turning out this sort of product fast enough.