SHOOFLY PIE TO DIE by Joshua & Michelle Slatalla Quittner


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An uneasy mix of grim and cutesy pervades this first novel featuring Manhattan ex-reporters Sam Popkin and wife Sara Amstel, parents of a baby girl and now editors of The Thin Man, a newsletter about food. They also collect antiques and, after a trip to Pennsylvania, open a pine chest purchased at Marlin Bainey's Farm Salvage to find the dismembered, headless corpse of a dwarf. Sam and Sara were instrumental, six years before, in the jailing of dwarf hit-man Dominic Calvesi, who'd vowed revenge and has just been released from prison. It's not surprising, then, that promotion-obsessed Detective Sergeant Evelyn Graber is determined to nail Sam and Sara for killing a still-unidentified Calvesi. Meanwhile, that intrepid, not to say foolhardy, pair return to Pennsylvania, baby in tow, bent on tracking the corpse's identity and the real killer. With help from Professor Jake Fisher, an expert on Amish sects, they manage to elude threats at every turn and a hotly pursuing Sergeant Graber to achieve both goals. Readers may find the picture of supposedly savvy New Yorkers and infant chasing a bloodthirsty murderer somewhat incredible; the often smart-alecky dialogue and Sara's spiky persona are also off-putting. But the authors have a blithe and breezy style and a flair for the bizarre that auger well for future, perhaps more convincing, adventures.

Pub Date: March 18th, 1992
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: St. Martin's