Assembly-line writer Wainwright ranges from awful to just mildly bad--and this, like most of his less-terrible efforts, submerges a somewhat promising plot in execrable pulp prose. The Great Gordano, once a world-famous magician, is now plain George Gordon, the crippled, hateful owner of a thriving show-biz agency. And when Gordon is poisoned, lots of suspects are on the premises: wife Ruth, who's been having an affair with brother-in-law Neil; Neil's cynical wife Celia; homosexual photographer Raymond; and an embittered rock group that's been trying to break a contract. Enter about-to-retire Detective Inspector Pilter, who--for totally unconvincing reasons (revealed in Wainwright's unspeakable version of stream-of-consciousness)--calls the death a suicide; only a year later does the murderous truth emerge. Plot-wise, this is one of Wainwright's more conventional offerings--but his clumsy, pretentious style (flashbacks, inner monologues, purple patches) remains as definitively off-putting as ever.