A mystery writer continues to be plagued by one of her characters.
As Rachel Goldman (Written Off, 2016) continues to insist, she’s a mystery writer, not a detective. But that line is increasingly blurred as Duffy Madison, who claims to be the real-world incarnation of her fictional investigator, continues to inveigle her into excursions into his murky past. This time Duffy talks Rachel into traveling to Poughkeepsie, where the fictional Duffy spent his youth, to track down Damien Mosley, who may or may not have been a classmate of Duffy’s. (She can’t ask Duffy because he insists that his existence started only five years ago, when Rachel began the Madison franchise.) Rachel reluctantly agrees to help, hoping that Damien will turn out to be Duffy, Duffy will somehow regain the lost memory of his earlier life, and she can get back to writing her self-imposed 1,000 words a day. Earlier interviews with Damien’s friends, especially Louise Refsnyder, who waited tables at Rapscallion’s, where Damien tended bar, and high school classmate Rod Wilkerson, look promising. But the investigation quickly goes south when Duffy concludes that he can’t be Damien, because Damien was murdered nearly 15 years ago.
Copperman, whose autistic sleuth, Samuel Hoenig (The Question of the Felonious Friend, 2016, etc.) can be quite charming, doesn’t yet have a handle on whether to play his new detective straight, fantastical, or just plain nuts. If he doesn’t jump soon, his new franchise threatens to go quickly from whimsy to tedium.