When a Park Avenue swinger is decked in his duplex, it takes an ex-podiatrist to give the killer the boot.
Jimmy Nettlestein always thought treating corns and calluses caused his asthma. So when sister Nettie is offered a professorship at Bowling Green University, he chucks his Philadelphia podiatry practice and heads with her to Kentucky, changing his surname to Netts and positioning himself first in the Yellow Pages as “America’s Detectives.” Sure enough: no feet, no asthma. Also no clients—until one day, as Jimmy ponders why Southerners parade their crazy relatives in front of strangers instead of hiding them in the attic the way sensible Northerners would, wealthy industrialist Arthur Deco (Senior) hires him to find out who murdered his son, Arthur Deco (Junior), in the posh digs Senior paid for. Senior is sure that the killer is Junior’s spurned lover Eddie Cotton, who led Junior down the primrose path from Andover and Yale to New York–style debauchery, gay sex and all. But the NYPD’s Eddie Roach and Jackie Hallerhan won’t arrest him because of some nonsense about an alibi. Soon enough, Jimmy is not only watching crazy relatives, he’s interviewing them, all in hope of finding out who might be not only crazy but deadly.
Once he kicks into gear, Barris is as antic in mystery mode as in any other. Like a more linear Tim Dorsey, the former Gong Show host (The Big Question, 2007, etc.) deadpans his way through his detection debut, delivered shotgun style with no twists, turns or detours.