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HIRE A HANGMAN by Collin Wilcox


by Collin Wilcox

Pub Date: April 4th, 1991
ISBN: 0-8050-0980-9
Publisher: Henry Holt

 Long-running Lieutenant Hastings and his co-captain of San Francisco homicide, the irascible Friedman, suspect early on that surgeon Brice Hanchett, shot leaving his mistress's apartment, was not a random mugging victim--but pinpointing the killer takes a while. Everybody, it turns out, hated the doctor--including his wife, her lover, the stepdaughter he abused, his mistress's ex, and the Bells, whose son died when Hanchett denied him a liver transplant. Then the crazed Mrs. Bell is shot dead, and evidence suggest that she may have killed the doctor. But who killed her? Solid detective work (some of it extralegal--e.g., breaking and entering by p.i. Alan Bernhardt, Wilcox's other series hero) exhumes this year's trendiest motive--incest--but then discards it in favor of old-fashioned greed, which unravels a two-person conspiracy. Wilcox, a master of narrative understatement, offers police- procedural fans a good story that quietly builds to a semi-cynical conclusion. No pyrotechnics here, but the S.F. locale and cop camaraderie are first-rate.