A Fine Italian Hand: An Inspector Charlie Salter Mystery

Eric Lloyd Wright, Author
Eric Lloyd Wright, Author Scribner Book Company $20 (0p) ISBN 978-0-684-19504-9
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-373-26143-7
Mass Market Paperbound - 240 pages - 978-0-7704-2569-2
Hardcover - 190 pages - 978-0-385-25371-0
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In his ninth appearance (the most recent was Final Cut ), Toronto police inspector Charlie Salter has a hard time focusing on the case of a murdered actor. Salter is suffering either from spring fever (he keeps smelling nonexistent lilacs) or a midlife crisis: his thoughts turn often to aging and death while his wife is away on Prince Edward Island tending her father, who has had a stroke. Actor Alec Hunter was stabbed and garroted in a sleazy lakefront hotel; evidence points to a mob-style rubout. Connie Spurling, who was the victim's possessive lover and agent, says she had given him $1000 to pay his gambling debts, a suspiciously small sum to lead to murder. Meanwhile, Salter must also deal with the bribery charge made against a new friend in the gambling squad, and with the dilemma of Sgt. Ranovic, whose pregnant girlfriend is resisting his suit of marriage in favor of remaining a single mother. The agreeable Charlie penetrates a web of deceit to link this case to the earlier death of an actress. But the contrived plot falters due to undeveloped characters and a notable lack of suspense. (Oct.)
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