Mystery & Crime Book Reviews (page 955)

THE DEVIL'S CARD by Mary Maher
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 23, 1992

"More successful, then, as a sensitive, though slow-moving, historical reconstruction of ethnic tensions among the Chicago Irish than as a puzzle or thriller."
A fictionalized review of a celebrated 1889 Chicago case: the disappearance and murder of Dr. Patrick Cronin. Read full book review >
THE NOEL COWARD MURDER CASE by George Baxt
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Nov. 23, 1992

"Fans of show-biz lore may love it—others, be warned."
Baxt once again on his resurrection mission (The Greta Garbo Murder Case, p. 76, etc.)—attempting to bring to fictional life a celebrity from an earlier era—complete with silly plot; imagined dialogue; friends and relations. Read full book review >

TO KILL A CLOWN by David Charnee
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Nov. 23, 1992

"Goodwin partnership, and a series with a respectable future."
Pat Arnold, the houseboy/secretary/and sometime snoop for attorney-detective D.L. Blacker, now gets a crack at working at his favorite occupation—clown—when he's hired as one of 50 nationwide clowns for the Terry Town fast-food chain; unfortunately, though, at the annual meeting in New York, Pat's clown-pal Rick is killed- -supposedly by his spurned lover, one more Terry Town employee who's then killed in a shootout with a cop investigating the case. Read full book review >
MOM AMONG THE LIARS by James Yaffe
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Nov. 23, 1992

"The usual mix of Mom's Yiddish shtick, Dave's guilt-ridden inability to reason as she does, and some mildly interesting characters—all in a low-key, amiable, but unexciting story."
Once again, Mom's the sleuth who solves the case for son Dave, investigator for public defender Ann Swenson in Mesa Grande, Colorado (Mom Doth Murder Sleep, etc.). Read full book review >
LANDFALL by Tony Gibbs
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Nov. 20, 1992

"The sailing scenes are, as always, outstanding."
The dashing crew of the yacht Glory, who sailed through Gibbs's Dead Run (1988) and Running Fix (1990) steer through the shoals of Middle Eastern politics without ever leaving the Caribbean. Read full book review >

DANCING IN THE DARK by Sharon Zukowski
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Nov. 20, 1992

"Strained, with too much on Blaine's love-life and drinking habits and not enough plot subtlety or sound characterization."
Young widow Blaine Stewart, a Manhattan p.i. Read full book review >
ONE, TWO, WHAT DID DADDY DO? by Susan Rogers  Cooper
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Nov. 20, 1992

"EWSLUGEJ's rough mouth and confrontational ways make her the unlikeliest writer of romances one could imagine, but she's real, warmhearted, unsoppy, and tells her fast-moving, thoroughly engrossing story with straight-ahead verve."
Cooper, creator of the well-regarded Sheriff Milton Kovack series (Chasing Away the Devil, etc.), has a gutsy new sleuth in Texas housewife/romance writer E.J. Pugh—wife of oil-field consultant Willis and mother of two small children. Read full book review >
STATE V. JUSTICE by Gallatin Warfield
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Nov. 19, 1992

"Russian diplomats, interagency rivalries, and a tooth-and-nail legal battle between wily sworn enemies—all these sure-fire hooks get neutralized by Warfield's flatly moralized characters, one-dimensional plot complications, absent-minded handling of subplots, and distaste for genuine mystery."
Despite a publicity blitz unusual for a first novel (an initial printing of 50,000), this tale of how an open-and-shut case against a convicted pedophile for the murder of a Russian diplomat's son runs up against the defense attorney's maniacal hatred of the upright D.A. doesn't give Scott Turow much competition. Read full book review >
DARK OF NIGHT by Richard Nehrbass
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Nov. 18, 1992

"MPSLUGetc) is still piled on a bit thick."
What begins as another find-the-daughter case for Vic Eton (A Perfect Death for Hollywood, 1991) turns darker and more baffling when the missing girl's father, big-time independent producer Mackenzie Gordon, is killed by a car bomb, and when Vic finds the must-have storyboards his retarded 14-year-old daughter Laurie's supposed to have run off with locked in Gordon's safe. Read full book review >
WAKE THE DEAD by Dorothy Simpson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 18, 1992

"Wordy but solidly reasoned plotting and mildly interesting characters provide another in Simpson's leisurely, literate series in the British Traditional mode."
Inspector Thanet and sturdy aide Sergeant Lineham are faced once more with a stubbornly resistant puzzle (Doomed to Die, 1991, etc.)—this time when elderly, autocratic Isobel Fairleigh is found smothered to death in her sickbed while the annual charity fàte surges busily outside, on the grounds of Thaxden Hall. Read full book review >
CANCELLATION BY DEATH by Dorian Yeager
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Nov. 18, 1992

"Yeager's smart heroine makes a dumb detective, but, still, this first novel is pleasantly breezy throughout."
An ingeniously updated Had-I-But-Known introducing Victoria Bowering, a sporadically employed actress who describes her own detective gifts as a modest intuitive bent and boundless curiosity. Read full book review >
THREE STRIKES, YOU'RE DEAD by Michael R. Geller
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Nov. 18, 1992

Former baseball phenom Slots Resnick, now a middle-aged New York shamus, is hired by the Mets' front office to check out the background of Billie Joe Howlett—a Norville, Colorado, college kid they're thinking of signing to a multimillion-dollar contract. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >