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Rozan’s highly regarded traversal of p.i. subgenres leaves the city for the poisoned arcadia of upstate Schoharie, where Bill Smith’s been vacationing for 18 years without disturbing any dust. Now, all of a sudden, he’s up to his .38 in three very different cases. First, reclusive farmer Eve Colgate wants him to recover six paintings that were stolen from her place—paintings whose theft she can’t afford to report to the police. Second, local baby-food magnate Mark Sanderson, a man who doesn’t take no for an answer, wants Bill to find his missing daughter Ginny, 15. And third, Frank Grice, the crook whose hold over young Jimmy Antonelli Bill helped to keep secret when Jimmy was arrested a few months ago, wants to pound Bill to a pulp after Bill helps Jimmy’s brother Tony fight off a couple of musclemen Grice sent to intimidate Tony. Despite all these cases, though, what keeps Bill busiest is Wally Gould, a Grice lieutenant who’s a lot more trouble dead than alive, especially when his corpse turns up in the basement of Tony’s bar with Jimmy’s keys nearby. Obviously, Gould’s murder is connected to at least one of Bill’s cases. But it isn’t until after he’s talked his partner Lydia Chin into coming up to help him that he realizes it’s tied in to all three. Though Rozan only borrows from the best, Bill and Lydia’s sixth features a few too many echoes of The Big Sleep (the constant shootings and beatings, the tangled mystery, the last buried secret) to scale the heights of No Colder Place (1997) and A Bitter Feast (1998).

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 1999
ISBN: 0-312-20912-6
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1999


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