THE RAGGEDY MAN by Lillian O'Donnell


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Echoes of NYC's daily headlines resound in this chapter in the life and times of p.i. Gwenn Ramadge (Used to Kill, 1993, etc.). Suburban couple Frank and Lana Wilson have engaged her to investigate the background of Monique Bruno, their Puerto Rican nanny. At the request of Queens Homicide Detective Ray Dixon (a friend who could become more), Gwenn hires NYPD Detective Jayne Harrow -- presently suspended without pay -- to help with the surveillance of Monique at the Wilsons' beachfront home. Jayne's promising career in the Narcotics Division took a nosedive when she confided to two superiors, Lieutenant Palma and Captain Landau, her suspicion that partner Brian Ford was on the take. The stabbing murder of a vagrant called Raggedy Man -- in the aftermath of an undercover meet set up by Ford -- was played down, and Jayne's alcohol addiction and a planted cache of drugs in her apartment soon led to her suspension. On surveillance, she proves reliable and trustworthy -- until she's found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning (pronounced a suicide) in her car on Riverside Drive, near an apartment where Monique spends her off time. Before long, Gwenn finds herself the quarry in a big-stakes conspiracy that spins out too long, losing the sharpness of its focus midway in a clutter of trivial detail and banal dialogue. Diluted pleasure for police procedural fans -- and again outclassed by this veteran author's Norah Mulcahaney series.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1995
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Putnam