Saratoga Springs PI Charlie Bradshaw's shifty-eyed sidekick, Victor Plotz, upstages him as both narrator and sleuth in this adventure, and oh, what a difference. When Bernard Logan, major stockholder in family-held stable Battlefield Farms, wants to hire Charlie because he's overheard his wife, Brenda Stanley, plotting with her foreman and lover, Randall Hanks, to kill him, Victor extorts a $1,000 retainer from him, and before Charlie can tell Logan that it's too much money and he's not interested anyway, Logan is dead, kicked in the head by a horse. Asked by Charlie to nose around Battlefield and see if he can get a rise out of any possible killers, Victor happily obliges—turning up evidence that the three horses the farm had lost in claiming races had all been snapped up by mysterious Laurel Hill Farms and goading Stanley, Logan's son Carl, his stepson Donald Croteau, and their creatures into accusing one another of murder. Nice family, huh? When three more murders follow, the police, convinced the killers have turned on each other, are ready to close the books on the case, but Charlie rouses himself just in time for a suitably nasty explanation. Victor, who talks like Archie Goodwin with an attitude, makes this entry a lot more formulaic than Saratoga Haunting (1993), but the man is sinfully funny just the same. Just wait till you see him get rid of his biker tenants or head off an unwanted visit from his granddaughter.
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