DEADFALL by Bill Pronzini


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Pronzini's Nameless Detective is now hired to investigate the murder of gay San Francisco lawyer Leonard Purcell; unlike the police, Leonard's housemate is convinced that the killing must be connected to the fairly recent death--an accidental (?) fall from a cliff--of Leonard's brother Kenneth, a nasty, shady real-estate tycoon. Are the two deaths indeed linked? To find out, the Nameless talks to Kenneth's monumentally unpleasant family: his strung, out daughter; his sexually voracious widow (they had an ""open marriage""). The sleuth also looks into Kenneth's obsessive hobby of collecting antique snuff boxes--which led him into iffy transactions with two creepy art-dealers. And he searches for an apparent eye-witness to Kenneth's mysterious fall, a Mexican deliveryman--who eventually turns up dead, of course. Foul people, strained plotting, and a shrilly overwrought windup: Pronzini at his most routine and unengaging, with the Nameless showing much less personality than usual.

Pub Date: July 28th, 1986
Publisher: St. Martin's