Dudley is grand. Dudley is not. The novel does not quite live up to its wonderful title character. Dudley's ex-wife Gloria's husband has committed suicide as only the upper suburbanite can afford to do it, driving his Cadillac into Long Island Sound at high tide. Bitterly Dudley reflects, ""There's a crying need for a word meaning the husband of your divorced wife. Something with a bite, implying that he caused it."" The word, he decides, is ""husband-in-law"". Genius manque Dudley Bray, eachecomber, artist, writer, fiddler and sleuth (wasn't the suicide really murder?), scaped from the Madison Avenue ""swill mill"" 11 years before. He carries out quixotic investigations into the murder with an ineffectual bravura that is constantly apostrophized in mock-heroic monologue. Dudley's style of thought is in the truncated, lyric, half criminal sentences of The Ginger Man as delivered by Tony Randall to a medicine-cabinet mirror. The plot was apparently composed during a terminal phase of neurasthenia, replete with sinister pursuers in the guises of suburbia, an amoral mermaid, pair of nutty aunts, and various bohemian escapees from work's fluorescent grip. The book's trouble: none of the supporting cast measures up to Dudley who is a minor immortal. But the bitter sublimity of Dudley's rhetoric will win its author many sentimental converts.