PRACTICE TO DECEIVE by David Housewright


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 When you're in business to bilk sweet old widows out of their life savings, you deserve whatever happens to you. So when St. Paul shamus Holland Taylor's parents ask him to go after the $287,000 that trusting Irene Gustafson gave to investments counselor Levering Field, and when Field and his smiling attorney Monica Adler tell Taylor that Mrs. Gustafson will be dead long before a court ever orders him to pay her a penny--and besides, he's prudently placed all his assets in his teenaged daughter's name--he figures he's well within his rights in ruining Field's life. And that's what he and his cross-dressing computer-expert friend Steve (a.k.a. Sara) VanderTop set out to do. Some of their harassments are ingenious, others merely satisfyingly petty, but soon they've got Field crying uncle. Sadly, that's practically the last thing he does cry before Taylor, followed closely by the cops, stumbles over his dead body. Homicide chief Lt. Anne Scalasi turns Taylor loose when he can prove an alibi, but his troubles are just beginning. For one thing, somebody's shooting at him, too--and with the same .32 that killed Field; for another, he's getting a double dose of all the dirty tricks, from unwanted pizza deliveries to threatening phone calls, that he pulled on Field. With Field dead, who could be looking for revenge? And who could possibly want both Field and Taylor dead? Housewright follows up his Edgar-winning debut (Penance, 1995) with a greased-lightning tale of scam and counterscam that's still bubbling merrily when the fat lady sings.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-88150-404-1
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Norton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1997


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