THE ARTFUL EGG by James McClure


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Who killed rich Naomi Stride, the Nadine Gordimer-like victim of a nasty spearing on her Trekkersburg patio? Was the murder political? And could it somehow be connected to another mysterious death--that of Mrs. Willem Zuidmeyer, wife of a retired Security Branch major? (She took a fatal ""fall"" in the shower.) Those are some of the questions facing Kramer and Zondi (The Steam Pig, etc.) in this circuitous outing--as the odd clues lead them to Hamlet, to the local college's drama department. The suspects include the writer's son (quarrelsome about money) and his ex-girlfriend (rejected by Naomi). And, among the many red herrings, there's the withheld evidence of a neurotic Indian postman--who is followed in his quirky efforts to hide from two teams of detectives. The red-herring/clutter factor (always a McClure feature) is so strong this time around, in fact, that the Final revelation (reminiscent of A. Christie) doesn't come across as well as it deserves to. Still, surly/lustful Kramer and shrewd, role-playing Zondi remain a distinctive team; the narration is full of cool, dark ironies and vivid South African portraiture; and readers who don't mind a leisurely, digressive pace will find solid entertainment here.

Pub Date: April 2nd, 1985
Publisher: Pantheon