BUT HE WAS ALREADY DEAD WHEN I GOT THERE by Barbara Paul

BUT HE WAS ALREADY DEAD WHEN I GOT THERE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Paul's latest (written, she says, after a solid diet of Perry Mason reruns) is meant to fizz--but it only fizzles. Nasty millionaire Vincent Farwell holds a promissory note on Ellandy Jewels, an exclusive, expensive firm owned by his niece Gretchen's husband Lionel, in partnership with Dorrie Murdoch, whose husband Simon sells diamonds. Dorrie's brother Malcolm, a wordy lawyer who'd like a piece of Uncle's legal work, lives with Nicole Lattimer, who designs for Ellandy and craves a partnership. And Uncle Vincent, wheelchair-bound, is cared by housekeeper Mrs. Polk and manservant Barney. On the night Uncle Vincent calls in the loan, demanding his million and a half in two weeks, he's found murdered in his study--found, in turn, by most of the above, each of whom alters the scene to his or her own scenario. It takes lots of boring rehashing of time elements and other circumstances before Lieutenant Toomey and Sergeant Rizzuto pin down the culprit. Paul has done some entertaining work (The Renewable Virgin, etc.), but the cardboard-y characters and silly complications here make the Perry Mason series look like Chekhov--and it's even easier to close a book than turn a dial.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1986
Publisher: Scribners