Cooper, author of a well-regarded series featuring Oklahoma Sheriff Milt Kovak (Other People's Houses, etc.), introduces Kimmy Kruse, a pint-sized stand-up comic from Texas, playing this week at Chicago's Kaiser Komedy Klub. On the same bill are Joey Scarlotti; Babe Marsh, who's grossly obese and does fat jokes; Bobby Rivers; M.C. Mickey Reynolds, and rising star Cab Nausberg. Cab and Kimmy are hotly at work renewing their old affair when Cab dies--in an instant--poisoned. For a while Kimmy is Detective Pucci's #1 suspect, until Reynolds is found with his neck broken, an impossible feat for petite Kimmy, and Pucci's investigations turn up more dead comedians--all connected to an Atlanta gig months before. Kimmy, once an insurance investigator, throws some good tips Pucci's way--and by the time the case is solved, with Kimmy's life on the line, they're sharing more than clues. A rambling plot with unconvincing motivation is helped some by perky, if plentifully profane, narration, a more-than-casual take on a popular entertainment phenomenon, and a heroine who could grow on you.