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Alo Nudger probably deserves his own niche in the Pantheon, right up there near Lew Archer and Travis McGee, where the label reads: fantasy heroes, fallible beefcake variety. In his fifth case, he's hired by librarian Adelaide Lacy to find her sister Mary, who supposedly absconded with city comptroller Virgil Hiller and a passel of other people's funds. Except that Mary hated Hiller; she was rape traumatized; possibly gay; and, besides, Adelaide has photographer' Dobbs' photograph of Hiller, which makes him look awfully dead. And Dobbs, too, has disappeared. A cosmetic saleswoman helps Nudger question Hiller's wife, Gina: Skip the junkie-snitch dies after meeting Nudge; old pal Hammersmith warns Nudger off when he mentions Jack Palp and Arnie Kyle (on-going investigation); politicians scurry every which way but Nudger's; and Nudge despairs with true love Claudia when her Pap smear comes back positive. Soon, old political plane-deaths surface, and Adelaide and Nudge barely escape the denouement with their lives--Mary and Hiller aren't so lucky. From the frazzled cosmetician Bonnie to the (for now) reunited Nudge and Claudia, from stalwarts Hammersmith to doughnut-dunker Danny, an exceptional cast of people--and a good, tight, tawdry story. Well done.

Pub Date: Aug. 23rd, 1989
Publisher: St. Martin's