THE MAN WHO KNEW HAMMETT by Vincent McConnor

THE MAN WHO KNEW HAMMETT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The gimmick here is Zeke Gahagan, ""the world's oldest private eye,"" an 82-year-old with diminishing gastric capabilities and a dreary tendency to recall what his friend and inspiration ""Dash"" Hammett might have done in a similar situation. Actress Fay Manning, an old chum, asks Zeke to find Laurence Knight, an actor who disappeared after he indiscreetly let something slip at a dinner party--and someone later retaliated by spraying his garage door with bullets. Also at that dinner were: a director, a costume designer, a composer, and in spirit--though too sick to attend--a movie director. They were commemorating the 50th anniversary of the rape/strangulation unsolved murder of movie enchantress Kara Kolvang. Does the missing Knight actually know whodunit? Soon his look-alike grandson Lars is shot dead; Tim Kerrigan, the man he implicated over dinner, is strangled; and Zeke is off to Kara's old stamping grounds--the Scandinavian community of Solvang. There, Knight is scheduled to be honorary marshal in a local holiday parade; a young man is ominously surveying the windmills in the parade path; an aged Indian is stalking the streets with a rifle slung over his shoulder; a Mexican is making indiscreet inquiries about Knight; and Zeke finds love (again) and finally pieces together who, what, why, and how and confronts the guilty. Clumsy, lumpy prose, as indigestible as most of Zeke's meals. Plus a very ordinary plotline. Skip it and read one of Dash's old cases instead.

Pub Date: Dec. 19th, 1988
Publisher: Tor--dist. by St. Martin's