MURDER TAKES A PARTNER by Haughton Murphy

MURDER TAKES A PARTNER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A second outing for Reuben Frost--the 75-year-old, semi-retired Manhattan lawyer who was featured in Murder for Lunch, Murphy's sporadically charming but highly amateurish debut. Frost, we now learn, is also Chairman of the Board of NYC's NatBallet, cofounded decades ago by Frost's ex-ballerina wife Cynthia. So Frost naturally plays sleuth when Clifton Holt, NatBallet's legendary Artistic Director, is fatally stabbed by a hired killer (who himself then dies in prison, coincidentally, before naming his employer). Who paid for Holt's murder? Was it his ambitious second-in-command, his long-suffering wile (about to be disinherited), his malelover (ditto), or his favorite ballerina/bedmate (about to be demoted)? Or was it perhaps famed critic Arthur Mattison, a secret plagiarizer whom Holt was about to expose? The assorted suspects and motives range from clichÉd to contrived to inane. The unmasking of the actual culprit is a bland, drawn-out anticlimax: one waits in vain for a final twist or two. And Murphy's evocation of the ballet world, though sprinkled with gossipy details, is less convincing--and far less appealing--than his law-firm close-ups in Murder for Lunch. Talky, ineptly plotted, and thinly peopled--though some readers may find snob appeal in the glossy milieu and the stuffy, smugly elitist tone.

Pub Date: March 3rd, 1987
Publisher: Simon & Schuster