To Kill a Clown

David Charnee, Author
David Charnee, Author St. Martin's Press $18.95 (260p) ISBN 978-0-312-08324-3
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In a delightfully improbable murder mystery, Charnee sends out the clowns--seven of them--to gruesome and varied deaths all over America. Beginning with Rick Avedon, whose bullet-punctured body is found in the locked box used in an escape act, the victims are slain in alphabetical order. All are jugglers. Hero, narrator and clown Pat Arnold is chief factotum to D. L. Blacker, the fee-conscious, coffee-swilling lawyer, part-time clown and amateur detective (the pair debuted in last year's well-received Party Till You Die .) Here Blacker is a consultant to the Terry Town fast-food chain, whose trademark character is Terry the Clown. The firm has hired 50 Terrys nationwide but, we are led to believe, has kept that multiplicity a secret. Pat himself is hired as a backup Terry, and eventually becomes an out-of-order target of the killer on the deserted 63rd floor of a Manhattan office tower. Suspects include a grossly fat Terry Town official and two high-powered women--a seductive Terry Town lawyer with a clown fetish, and a dogged Vanity Fair reporter who has twigged to the Terry the Clowns story. Clever and amusing all the way. (Nov.)
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