Who killed Joyce Hauptman, her husband or her father?
Felled by a stroke five years ago, Joyce has lain in a vegetative state until someone sprinkles an arsenic compound in her feeding tube and she finally succumbs. By all accounts, her husband Charles was devoted to her, but along with three nurses, one of them unlicensed, he was the one responsible for her care, and he stood to inherit $20 million on her death. Even so, her father, Max Baum, may have thought her fortune was coming to him, since it had originally belonged to his wife before she committed suicide. He’d handled all the disbursements for nursing care and other bills, and he had access to the poison. New York homicide detective Lenny Shaw is unsure which of his suspects to blame, but when Charles is indicted, he continues his investigation of Max, giving the defense team a good shot at establishing reasonable doubt, especially when Max’s chauffeur goes after Lenny and his partner in a revenge attack. More will die and justice will be derailed when Lenny, sensing that he’s been duped, goes rogue.
Solomita (Cracker Bling, 2009, etc.) is a better stylist than plotter. But it’s so seldom that a good jolt of noir enlivens a classic whodunit that he deserves full marks for a mostly successful melding.