DEATH OF AN OLD FLAME by Malcolm McClintick


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Clairmont City police sergeant George Kelso (The Key; Mary's Grave), who still carries a snapshot of his first love--college sweetheart Carla Bushnell--confronts his past when Carla's husband Paul Ott is shot and killed in their home. Ballistics identifies two bullets; a .22 entered his head and a .357 magnum, from Paul's own gun, entered his stomach. Suicide seems possible, but not probable, and several people had dandy motives and conflicting alibis: Paul and Carla's mother were having an affair, and both Carla and her dad knew about it; Carla's former lover Henry Fredericks--in town from Kokomo just to woo her back--owns a .22, and, despite his denials, it's recently been fired; banker Arnold Huff was being blackmailed by Paul, while his wife Anne spied Carla and low-level attorney Tony Deal pricing wedding rings. Meanwhile, Carla emotionally seduces Kelso--until Kelso shakes himself out of it, separates the troth from his fervid fantasies, and finds the proof hidden on a snowman Carla helped build. A well-done, small-scale crime--with interesting Fatal Attraction-ish obsessions, nicely thought-out clues, and a solid, likable small-town hero in Kelso.

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 1988
Publisher: Doubleday