DEATH OF A RENAISSANCE MAN by Linda Uccello

DEATH OF A RENAISSANCE MAN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Downtown artist Nikki Andrews, the loud and tiresome narrator of this garrulous mystery-debut, is in bed with uptown artist-lover Joe Savanah just moments before Joe falls to his death from an apartment window. (""And there I was, leaning out over the railing, half-undressed, with my boobs hanging out, and screaming! It couldn't have looked more incriminating if the guy still had a hard-on."") So Nikki, herself an obvious suspect, spends the next 300 pages trying to figure out who pushed famous, successful Joe--he was ""part of the earth but part of the sky, too"" and ""SO-FUCKIN' INTELLIGENT""--to the pavement below. Was it one of Joe's ex-wives--born-again Lorraine or still-devoted Of apparently bisexual) Tish? Was it current wife Ann, powerful and rich, who didn't want to be dumped like her precedessors? Was it Joe's other mistress Shelly, Nikki's sometime bosom-buddy? (They play, interminably, the whiny verbal game of ""Who Loved Him More."") Or was it Nikki's would-be boyfriend Brendan, who was jealous of the late, great Joe? All these suspects get talked to--and about--ad nauseam. Even more puerile than the repetitious chatter is Nikki-in-soliloquy--as she reminisces about Joe (part pretentious treacle, part porn), and dispenses cutesy, derivative comments on life in New York City (Bloomingdale's, etc.). So, despite the hyper tone throughout, the pacing is slow and static here--though there's a dollop or two of action (someone pushes the heroine onto the subway tracks) before Nikki's long-winded confrontation/duel with the drably obvious culprit. Limp mystery, unpleasant people, incessant yakking: a hard-working but dismal attempt to blend trendy urban shtick with a formula whodunit.

Pub Date: March 31st, 1986
Publisher: St. Martin's