SCATTERSHOT by Bill Pronzini


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That title may be Pronzini's way of apologizing--because this new Nameless Detective entry is a scattershot book indeed: instead of writing a genuine full-length story, Pronzini inter-stitches three unrelated mini-cases, at least one of which seems to be recycled from a previously published short story. Case #l: the N.D. is hired to track down jet-set celebrity Lauren Speers (to serve a subpoena), traces her to a posh resort, and walks in just as Lauren seems to have shot her secretary; in a few pages, however, the N.D. solves this solid locked-room puzzle. Case #2: the N.D. is hired to follow a cheating husband, who disappears before his very eyes (from a stopped car) and turns up dead; again the solution--a tricky, implausible one--comes to the N.D. in a flash. And case #3 is the least interesting of all: another locked-room puzzle, arising when the N.D. is hired to guard the presents at a posh wedding. Pronzini tries to blend this slight trio into novelistic shape, mostly by threading the proceedings with the N.D.'s feelings about girlfriend Kerry (whom he wants to marry). But this remains a lazy pastiche, pleasant but mostly for those who prefer short-story collections to full-length detections.

Pub Date: April 21st, 1982
Publisher: St. Martin's