The second book by top p.i. Dear (Dungeon Master, 1984) about one of his own cases. Those willing to put up with the inherent self-advertizing will find this third-person account--written with the aid of 1986 Edgar-winner Stowers--a brisk and suspenseful murder mystery. ""Flamboyant, handsome. . .Dear was called by some in the media America's answer to the fictional James Bond."" Dear's infatuation with himself is in full strut here, but so is his fascinating ability to solve the thorniest cases--this time, the baffling August 1980 murder of millionaire cosmetics-dealer Dean Milo, found shot twice in the head--with cotton stuffed in his mouth and clad only in backwards-worn jockey shorts--just inside the door of his home in an Akron, Ohio, suburb. Hired by Milo's company after local cops reached a dead end, Dear throws himself obsessively into the circumstances of the killing and the psyche of the victim--moving into Milo's house, wearing his clothes, reenacting the slaying. Cold shoulders from Milo's relatives and rampant rumors of family squabbles set Dear sniffing up familial alleys. The first break comes when a posted reward ferrets out a local heroin addict who likely conspired with a local lawyer to hire the hit man. But who made the hit, and who paid for it? Dogged gumshoeing finally unmasks the principal villain--Milo's brother, Fred (now serving a life sentence)--and, over subsequent months, a horde of co-conspirators, including the ""social misfit"" who pulled the trigger. Ironies close the case and the book: Dear, newly married when he took this case that he hoped to wrap up in one week, closes it after nearly a year, with divorce papers in hand; years later, one of the co-conspirators writes Dear a letter from prison thanking him for saving his life. Taut and engrossing--and likely to win the self-aggrandizing Dear a slew of new clients--but lacking the emotional pull that distinguishes really outstanding true-crimers like Joseph Wamhaugh's current The Blooding (1988).