A pair of nonlethal assaults set up copyright lawyer Rep Pennyworth’s fifth case of murder most foul.
An unknown woman took the trouble to lure midshipman Harald Lindstrom to a seedy hotel, drug him and steal everything on him, including the clothes off his back. By contrast, no one thinks there’s any mystery about who clocked Harald’s uncle, veteran Wisconsin Democratic political operative Ole Lindstrom, with a frying pan or why. Despite her protests of innocence, his feisty wife Lena, 72, is widely assumed to be the culprit. The attack makes attorney Veronica Gephardt’s recent work on domestic violence all the more timely. And Ole thinks his headache is a small price to pay for the publicity Gephardt gets, since he hopes to groom her as a dark-horse candidate for state Attorney General. The Lindstroms hire Milwaukee attorney Reppert Pennyworth to help them copyright a broad package of ideas, songs and concepts for Gephardt’s campaign. But it’s Rep’s reluctant experience in criminal matters (Shoot the Lawyer Twice, 2008, etc.) that becomes his biggest qualification for the job when a second attack sends Ole to the morgue and Lena to the jug. There follow the usual brainy conversations, farcical action sequences and loony set pieces, from Rep’s close encounter with a masked arsonist on skis to his wife Melissa’s appearance in cap and gown at a baseball trivia quiz.
Inventive and almost too clever. The suspects are the only weak spots—they are both overactive and undercharacterized.