Email this review


Chinatown p.i. Lydia Chin's sometime partner Bill Smith (China Trade, 1994) takes over as narrator and principal investigator in this tale of murder and worse at the Bronx Home for the Aged. Bill is called in to get the killer of his old mentor's nephew and employee, security guard Mike Downey; but it's soon obvious that Downey's murder is only a tiny piece of a deeply felonious puzzle--a puzzle that ranges from real-estate seams to extortion high (a sweetheart deal between Helping Hands, which runs the Home and other equally Homey institutions, with a local hospital for unnecessary procedures) and low (protection payoffs to the gun-toting Cobra gang), with skimming at every level in between. The three parallel monsters in charge of keeping the pot boiling--head Cobra Anthony ""Snake"" LeMoyne; Helping Hands dragon Francine Wyckoff; and smiling Andy Hill (""call me Andy""), Community Liaison to the Bronx Borough President--are so hypnotically entertaining that you almost forget that Bill himself, who plays Schubert and dreams of a better Bronx, is a much less interesting storyteller than Lydia. Richly and rewardingly plotted--though, as in Bill and Lydia's debut, there are as many felonies and perps as on the eleven o'clock news.

Pub Date: Oct. 13th, 1995
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: St. Martin's