THE GIFT HORSE'S MOUTH by Robert Campbell


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Chicago's most endearing sewer-inspector, Jimmy Flannery (The Junkyard Dog, etc.), returns--with much of the usual charm, but in a murder-mystery that's far less offbeat than his customary capers. Goldie Hanrahan--60-ish, once a great beauty, and for over 30 years executive-secretary to Democratic party-boss Ray Carrigan--is found dead early one morning in the remote forest-preserve where she frequently rode her horse. A riding accident? Perhaps. But Carrigan thinks otherwise, and so does Jimmy, especially when it's discovered that Goldie's teeth (an elaborate bridgework) are missing. So Carrigan orders party-functionary Jimmy to start sleuthing, and the trail leads straight into Goldie's past: her bygone romances with several politically connected men (including Jimmy's father!); and her illegitimate child--whose paternity remains a mystery. . .and who may have recently surfaced after 30 years of silence. (Goldie had him raised by relatives, who in turn put him into the foster care of neighbors.) The versatile Campbell (Alice in La-La Land, etc.) doesn't give this darkish episode the comic spin we've come to expect from his Flannery books; aside from a so-so running gag (about the sexual activity of Flannery's dog Alfie), there are few laughs here. But the other strengths of the series--Jimmy's crisply ungrammatical narration, the lean plotting and terse pacing, the sharply drawn (and mostly likable) people--remain impressive in a low-key, small-scale way.

Pub Date: Dec. 3rd, 1990
Publisher: Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster