An ambitious young Ohio crime reporter teams up with the wise old curmudgeon heading up the newspaper’s morgue.
Dolly Madison Sprowls, 67, thinks she’ll be teaching newcomer Aubrey McGinty, 24, a thing or two about proper Hannawa Herald-Union procedure when she comes looking for file clips on the Buddy Wing murder. But Aubrey immediately convinces the acerbic Morgue Mama to help her prove the televangelist wasn’t poisoned by Sissy James, even though she confessed. High on their list of new suspects are Tom Bandicoot, Sissy’s lover and the former assistant pastor at the Heaven Bound Cathedral until Buddy cast him out, forcing him to start up the rival New Day Epiphany Temple; his wife, Annie, desperate to have him reclaim his former eminence; Guthrie Gates, the new golden boy at Heaven Bound; disgruntled parishioner Wayne F. Dillow, whose wife died despite healing sessions with Buddy; several Kent State students working at the Cathedral as part-time interns; and Elaine Albert, who’s responsible for getting the reverend’s sermons on the air. Verbally abrasive Dolly and seductively manipulative Aubrey are soon offending town nabobs, cops, managing editors, rival reporters, and each other before newcomer Corwin throws in a couple of twists that send the plot careening out of control.
That’s unfortunate, because the wry handling of the irrepressible Dolly, and her takes on aging, youth in heat, and diner specials, are very appealing indeed.