ROADSHOW by William Marshall


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By now followers of the Yellowthread Street (Hong Kong) procedurals have become accustomed to the fact that Feiffer, O'Yee, et al. will probably deal with an awfully peculiar case--and the fact that Marshall's narration will be quirky, comic/portentous, even a bit fractured or surreal. So this new installment, though distinctly odd by conventional mystery standards, may seem downright tame to series veterans. Someone, leading a shadowy gang of technicians, is blowing up one Hong Kong street after another, killing more than a few innocent bystanders in the process. Who is this implacable Someone (seen in periodic vignettes)--and what possible reason could he have for devastating a few roads in downtown H.K., playing havoc with the city's already grotesque traffic problems? Moody cop Harry Feiffer investigates haphazardly--talking to traffic officials, bomb-squad experts, even Hong Kong's resident streetnamer (a somewhat ugly American). Meanwhile, there are the usual Yellowthread St. sideshows: O'Yee reluctantly becomes attached to a stray dog; Spencer and Auden once again do some slapstick sleuthing--this time in a dubious Zen monastery; everyone--including the villains--succumbs to bouts of obsession or of Angst. And finally, after it becomes apparent that the crazy bombers are not so crazy (there's a huge money motive) city-government insiders, Feiffer stars in a shootout-showdown that prevents the dastardly scheme (gridlock!) from coming to fruition. Chunks of farce, slivers of pathos, tidbits of repartee, psychology, sociology, and exotica: the now-familiar Marshall collage--too thin and fanciful for traditional procedural-pleasure, a little labored in its arch stylishness, but an undeniably distinctive diversion for a special audience.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1985
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston