Jack Paley, a former quiz kid who's drifted into a series of one-day jobs with the Fly-by-Night temporary agency, investigates the deaths of two other superannuated members of the six Mental Midgets who had their 15 minutes of fame before their first pimples. Okay, there isn't much of a case here: most of the clues allowing you to pick out the killer of clumsy Larry Kelleher and scruffy Davy Herzog from among the sketched-in suspects--surviving Midgets Tracy Selwyn, Steve Carrera, and Olive Herne (who ""liked to walk the line between Gina Lollobrigida and Hannah Arendt""); their old mentor Professor Hal Josephson; and maybe paranoid Davy himself--are crammed into the last 30 pages; and Paley himself is nothing more than an engaging collection of tics (a girlfriend, Belinda Frank, he's only willing to spend Tuesday nights with; a bicycle to ride to his stints as tour-guide at the Empire State Building or stagehand at Women Who Love Too Much: The Musical--you get the idea). The gimmick here is the number of solve-this puzzles (which of the three actors is from England? what does Paley expect to find in the confessional? which waiter at a posh reception is bogus?) that end each of the first eight chapters, giving the book the rhythm and intellectual heft of a Nancy Drew adventure with an irrelevant teaser every ten pages. Clever and cute as a button. For button fanciers.
Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1990
Page Count: -
Publisher: Washington Square/Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster