Where does Handler get those outrageous ideas for celebrity ghostwriter Hoagy Hoag's adventures (The Man Who Cancelled Himself, 1995, etc.)? This time his client is Clethra Feingold, 18, who's been offered $2 million for her story of eloping with Thor Gibbs, 71, the stepfather who combines the windy virility of Hemingway and the sexual ethics of Woody Allen. Moments after the two of them turn up at the ancient Connecticut house Hoagy's sharing with his ex-wife Merilee Nash and their infant daughter, he realizes that Clethra is, like, not all that great with words, and it looks as if he'll be spending more quality time with his old mentor Thor. Wrong: soon after Hard Copy screens a salacious video Thor allegedly made of his stepdaughter, the old goat is bashed to death, gelded, and dumped into a convenient pond, and Hoagy himself becomes the number one suspect of slow-moving, fast-burning local cop Lt. Chick Munger. Trying to salvage both his share of the $2 mil and his freedom, Hoagy hobnobs with Clethra's furious mother, feminist icon Ruth Feingold, her ex-husband and the toy boy he left her for, and Arvin Gibbs, the younger stepbrother, who may have had an even stranger attachment to Clethra than her dear old stepdad. Gathering the suspects around Hoagy's own home tames his usual zany gaiety; this accomplished puzzler is probably as sober, even ruminative, as we'll ever see mystery's liveliest ghost.