Kirkus Reviews QR Code



Pub Date: Nov. 10th, 1986
Publisher: Walker

Milo Turner, the super-con-man who has starred in several of Nevins' short stories, is the narrator-hero of this episodic novel--which offers an odd mixture of lighthearted seams, cornball melodrama, and pulpy sentiment. In the book's first section, Milo recounts his steamy affair with beautiful young con-woman Ann--who has been cheated out of a huge inheritance (from her dead con-man father) by slimy Max Gantry of N.Y.'s ""Matchwit Club."" To get all that cash back, Milo must sneak into Gantry's office, decipher an Ellery Queen-tab code, fight off Gantry's resident thug (""Moose""), and con a few banks. Mission accomplished, Milo and Ann split the loot and sorrowfully part (for professional reasons). Then, a few years later, Milo and ""my lady"" reunite in N.Y.--but almost immediately Ann is dead, supposedly from an accidental drunken fall. Milo knows better, of course: he's sure that Ann--who was in the midst of a super-seam, posing as a long-lost heiress--was killed by the other heirs to a St. Louis fortune. So, vowing revenge, the con-man now concocts an elaborate seam of his own--setting out to prove that Ann's share of the fortune should go to her little daughter (a fictional creation). And, arriving in St. Louis complete with a child-actress and forged papers, Milo traps the killer, tangles With some old enemies (by grotesque coincidence), and finds new love. Blatantly artificial, frankly old-fashioned, and sometimes just awkward--but with stretches of con-artist zest along the way.