FINDING OUT by Thomas Baird


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The delightfully ebullient Mr. Baird, very much aware of the drafty cross-currents in the halls of culture, again takes on a ruling cliche in the Fine Arts, with amusing, if less robust, results than in Nice Try. Vandalism strikes the Van Buren Museum of Art where a Renoir is unveiled, with a smear of lipstick and the word ""Vanitas"" emblazoned thereon. The crime is perpetrated by Miss Flo LoPresto, overwrought secretary to the curator of ancient and medieval art, whom she feels, has been roundly done in by other interests at the museum. As the crime is wantonly investigated by a roustabout detective, a bit of a vandal himself, the melodious finagling of members of the staff reaches operatic proportions. One curator determinedly drinks himself into oblivion because of an unfaithful wife; another takes a nibble from the Mayor's office, who is plumping for a new cultural center; an addled prime suspect collects insects and misleads; another tries a bit of blackmail; elderly ladies dabble in various sorts of witchery; the president and head curator lock horns over policy. At the close, Flo confesses privately; there is a convenient death, and peace reigns again. Not so hilariously malicious as Mr. B's others, but pleasant mirth for upper middle culture fringes.

Pub Date: May 3rd, 1967
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World