ARMADILLOS AND OLD LACE by Kinky Friedman

ARMADILLOS AND OLD LACE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Texas Jewboy Kinky Friedman (Elvis, Jesus, and Coca-Cola, 1993) gets back to his non-Hebraic roots when he leaves Manhattan for a summer taking care of laundry and security at his father's kids' camp outside San Antonio. The lazy camp life gives Kinky enough time for pregnant dialogues with Dusty the talking cat and for plenty of his trademark anecdotes and aphorisms (""When you have to talk to a cat that isn't there, you might as well be talking to yourself""), but the Hon. Pat Knox, who ran successfully against Kinky years ago to become Kerrville's Justice of the Peace, is sure there's skullduggery in the neighborhood too. Five old ladies in the surrounding hamlets all died on their 76th birthdays; she's convinced they were murdered. The only clues: a series of yellow roses on each victim's grave; Pat's baffling intuition that all five widows were raped; and a dream reported by Violet Crabb, whose late sister Myrtle appeared out of the flames with an oracular utterance, ""Cotillion."" In his lackadaisical pursuit of truth and justice, the Kinkster spends time with a sharp-tongued crafts counselor, a beekeeping survivalist, and the surviving Daughters of the Republic of Texas -- he also uses a lot of words like ""ambivalent"" and ""concomitantly."" Kinky's naughty charm is as potent as ever, but the uninitiated may find the lightweight mystery swamped, like a Thanksgiving dinner, by too much homecoming, too much childhood nostalgia, and too many fatty trimmings.

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 1994
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster