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A cheerfully brazen Rex Stout knockoff with plenty of chutzpa, to use the language of Manhattan ex-cop Dave Goldman, who plays Archie Goodwin to wheelchair-bound Bishop Francis X. Regan's Nero Wolfe. The Bishop and Dave, who doubles as licensed p.i. and Special Assistant to the Bishop, get sucked into the murder of bank heiress Barbara McClain when high-living Father Willie Fuller turns up on their doorstep with the news that he woke up from spending the night with Barb to find her stabbed. After an anonymous phone tip puts the police on Father Willie's trail, and Dave, en route to the crime scene, gets nabbed by the homicide boys, it's one steal after another from Stout--threats tossed between the mandarin detective and the police; the legman's genial badinage with the law and the Bishop (""Rumor has it his I.Q. has tested out at 220. . .I'm not exactly sure what my I.O. is, but I'd accept three digits, if offered""); and fancy maneuvers around the hostile suspects: Barb's dissipated brother Bob; Bob's snippy lawyer-wife Missy; spineless bank president Ted Masterson; and Barb's slimy fiancÉ Norm Hastings. The clue of the title--the chartreuse ski-togs Barb's father was wearing during a suspicious accident on the slopes last winter--offers the only real chance for ""the Bish"" to show off that I.Q.; but spirits remain high throughout, and Love spends so much time setting up props--the Bishop's daunting housekeeper Sister Ernestine Regnery; Dave's psychiatrist girlfriend Sally Castle; Dave's poker-gold group, the Delancey Street Irregulars--that further adventures seem assured. First-novelist Love doesn't write with anything like Stout's style or invention, but his book runs sloppy rings around Robert Goldsborough's joyless resurrections of Wolfe and Archie.

Pub Date: June 21st, 1990
Publisher: Donald Fine