A murder comedy in the deftest style, Kwitny's Mullendore case is a winner with more entanglements than a team of gumshoes could unravel: underhanded financial deals among millionaires, loan sharks, Mafiosi, con men, failing banks and phony stock transfers that leave the reader cross-eyed. Dead center -- and dead -- is Osage County rancher E.C. Mullendore, who had the biggest life insurance package ever made on a human being: sixteen million dollars. On September 26, 1970, alcoholic E.C. was murdered -- or was it an arranged suicide, the murderer paid by E.C. himself? Not even the insurance companies could tell. E.C. had plenty of motives for suicide, including family troubles with his divorcing wife, skyhigh money troubles with his overhocked ranch (a gargantuan territory spilling from Oklahoma into Kansas), Mafia troubles, and just plain alcohol troubles: when scotch whisky is added to megalomania, you get a king-sized dreamer only the Plains can accommodate. The fantastic cast included E.C.'s hourglass-shaped wife who spends money faster than buildings can be built to store her wardrobes. The case is still unsolved, perhaps unsolvable short of outright confession. Really bizarre stuff, with two attendant murders, in a highly polished whirlwind of black finance.