The creator of private-eye Nick Polo (All That Glitters, 1997, etc.) launches a new series, in which a Bay Area newspaper critic meets a killer who’s seen too many Hitchcock films.
San Francisco Bulletin reviewer Carroll Quint thinks so little of the cryptic e-mail about the murder of aging actor Montgomery Hines that he deletes it, along with the follow-up concerning the demise of Charlie Reeder, whose corpse Carroll discovered when a phone call sent him to San Mateo for a meeting with the long-dead screenwriter. But then he gets to thinking. The e-mailer, calling himself Thanatos after the Greek god of death, had pointed out undeniable Hitchcock connections in both deaths: Monty stabbed through a shower curtain, Charlie brained with a leg of lamb, his body left for the birds. Will Carroll ever hear from him again? Indeed he will, in messages that promise more mayhem echoing motifs from The 39 Steps to Frenzy. It’s lucky that Carroll is so close to his coy correspondent, because the live-action cast, from wealthy patron of the arts Gineen Rosenberry, whose ruby necklace the police think Carroll pinched, to Bulletin restaurant reviewer Terry Greco, Carroll’s latest girlfriend, don’t have much impact. Nor does Thanatos, when he finally puts in an off-screen appearance.
On the plus side, it’s fun to see Carroll squeezed between two cops who like him for two different crimes, and there’s lots of trivia for Hitchcock buffs.