DEATH OF A NEXT-DOOR NEIGHBOR by David Goodnough

DEATH OF A NEXT-DOOR NEIGHBOR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Goodnough's literate, witty narration is the main attraction of this easygoing, thinly plotted debut--which begins when middle-aged, suburban hero Henry Wilnot (a paperback-mystery writer) notices that his next-door neighbor, ad-man Joe Casewait, is floating bloody and dead in the Casewaits' backyard pool. Not only does poor Henry (who never much liked the boorish Casewait) become a prime suspect. He also learns that he's named in Casewait's will as co-executor--along with the estranged Mrs. Casewait, who flies in from California (where she has started a new life) for the funeral/probate rites. And when Henry starts gathering Casewait's assets, he finds himself being followed by a Mob thug--who just might be interested in the $250,000 that Casewait had stored in a safety-deposit box. Was Casewait killed because of his shady sideline dealing (kickbacks, etc.)? Or could the motive be more domestic? (Casewait's daughter Jane, a Paris-bound maharishi-follower, also flies in.) The answers are far from dramatic or clever. But there's substantial amusement along the way--in Henry's whimsical, sardonic asides (on everything from the Stuttgart Ballet to Lyndon Johnson to hopeless offspring), in the offbeat character-sketches (quirky cops and lawyers), and in occasional dollops of fine slapstick (e.g., Henry's weird booby-trap for that stalking Mob enforcer).

Pub Date: May 30th, 1988
Publisher: Walker