FROGMOUTH by William Marshall


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Another jumpy montage of bizarre, black-comic doings at Hong Kong's Yellowthread St. Police Station--as far-fetched as ever, and wispier than usual. The main case, pursued by Detective Chief Inspector Harry Feiffer, is the stomach-turning mass slaughter of animals at a children's zoo--followed a few days later by the gutting of 22 flamingoes at the Botanical Gardens. The only clue to the psycho-killer's identity? A strange feather, found at the zoo, which turns out to have come from an Australian tawny frogmouth--a bird which doesn't exist locally. So the trail leads to ornithologists, the Customs office, the Quarantine Station, and the unhappy home of the city's full-time animal executioner. Meanwhile, the slapsticky cop-team of Auden and Spencer has a silly time investigating daily robberies at a bank's outdoor automatic-teller machine: the thief is a fleet-footed sherpa who is repeatedly chased (in an escalating Rocky parody) by an obsessed Auden. And meanwhile, too, back at headquarters, Senior Detective Inspector Christopher O'Yee and Constable Lira are being tormented by sounds emanating from one station-house wall: their attempts at playing ghostbuster lead to horror-movie sendups, architectural archaeology. . .and a highly contrived tie-up with Inspector Feiffer's animal-murder case. Despite pretentious touches: a very slight mix of whimsical absurdity and psycho-grotesquerie, not even sure to please Yellowthread St. regulars.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1987
Publisher: Mysterious Press--dist. by Ballantine