Piqued that his agent/wife, Lee Holland, has sold his first mystery novel by ignoring his demand that she keep the author's name a secret and instead telling the publisher that it's the work of nationally syndicated mystery reviewer Stokes Moran, Kyle Malachi decides to take strong measures against his tiresomely successful pseudonym by phoning the New York Times to announce Moran's death. After all, he figures, if being dead doesn't work out, he can always resurrect his alter ego Ö la Conan Doyle. But Moran's return from his own Reichenbach Falls comes a lot faster than Malachi or Lee could have expected when the NYPD phones to ask Lee if she'd mind coming in to identify Moran's corpse. Yes, only a few hours after Malachi decided to kill off his fictional self, somebody has already found, at the bottom of an airshaft, the body of a man carrying Moran's identification. Finding out who it is, and who killed him and why, will require Malachi, whose response to every crisis is to cite some parallel from detective fiction, to do a striptease on a city street, visit a bordello that caters to very exclusive tastes, and follow the winding trail back to an unexpectedly logical endpoint. Malachi is less insufferable than in And Then There Were Ten (1995), though the target audience remains hard-core puzzle-addicts stuck on a train between double-crostics.