THE RANSOM GAME by Howard Engel
Kirkus Star


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A second outing for Engel's wry, shy private-eye Benny Cooperman of Grantham, Ontario--now hired by lush Muriel Falkirk to find her missing boyfriend Johnny Rosa, on parole after six years on a kidnapping conviction. (The kidnap victim, Gloria Warren, daughter of a conglomerate biggie, was found unharmed; the ransom half-million never surfaced.) Who's out to get Rosa? Muriel's ex-lover Eddie Milano--or one of Rosa's also-paroled kidnapping partners? And who now murders Muriel herself? Well, Benny thinks the answers might be found in the background of kidnap-victim Gloria: her hard-living brother's fatal crackup of his racing Lotus (shortly before the kidnapping); her father's recent drowning in his own swimming pool; her post-kidnapping marriage and her employment (as secretary) of her late brother's once-wild young mistress. So dogged sleuthing ensues--with a nicely worked-out solution the result, thanks also to some help from contacts all over town, friends at the local precinct, and solid intuition. Like The Suicide Murders (p. 63): crisp, traditional shamus-ing from Canada--steadily enlivened by Engel's unassuming style and the textured personality (a kind of Donald Lamm/Lew Archer amalgam with Jewish overtones) of likable Benny.

Pub Date: Nov. 13th, 1984
Publisher: St. Martin's