THE IMMEDIATE PROSPECT OF BEING HANGED by Walter Walker
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THE IMMEDIATE PROSPECT OF BEING HANGED

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Sex, murder, and politics wheeze, gasp, and seethe in a funny and very sharp mystery set in the Boston exurbs. By the author of Rules of the Knife Fight, The Two Dude Defense, and A Dime to Dance By. Dead is Rebecca Chesley Carpenter, last in a very long line of very prosperous residents of Woodedge, Mass. Mrs. Carpenter's body was found in her Mercedes in a lover's lane somewhere between her house and the country club where her equally well-bred husband--a philanderer and golf whiz--may or may not have been playing cards on the night of her death. Staff investigator Patterson Starbuck, who has his own rather sad ties to Woodedge, gets the orders from his silly boss, district attorney John Michael Keough: come up with enough evidence to tie Mr. Carpenter to Mrs. Carpenter's death. And do it quickly. Keough wants to get his career into a more prominent orbit, and this is the perfect case to do just that. Starbuck goes dutifully forth but promptly trips over the facts, which fail to support his bess's Plan for Success. And as he digs into the disappointing lives of the boring rich, Starbuck is constantly and painfully reminded of his own family's unhappy association with Woodedge and its families. His investigations are complicated by an instantly conceived lust for the beautiful but ignored wife of a nasty distant cousin--whose nastier father owns the house for which Starbuck's father pined all his life. To add to the complications, back at the office it seems that the bess's wife may have conceived a lust for Starbuck. The mystery here is subordinate to the social observations, which are always smart, fresh, and on the mark. First-rate.

Pub Date: April 18th, 1989
Publisher: Viking