Inches

William Leonard Marshall, Author
William Leonard Marshall, Author Mysterious Press $19.95 (287p) ISBN 978-0-89296-368-3
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-446-40455-6
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Three bizarre and riveting investigations comprise this dazzling addition (after Out of Nowhere ) to Marshall's literate Yellowthread Street series set in the fictional Hong Bay section of Hong Kong. Chief Inspector Harry Feiffer, called to a sealed bank office where nine employees lie dead from poison, discovers that the books are in apparent good order and that the tea cups from which the fatal draught was drunk have been washed and carefully put away. At the same time, Senior Inspector Christopher O'Yee mulls over possible reasons for his undercover assignment while, as instructed, he walks the Hong Bay streets dressed as a bum, carrying a coat hanger and drawing the word ``eternity'' on city sidewalks. Not too far away, Inspectors Auden and Spencer, one cerebral and one physical, find themselves on a narrow catwalk outside the 18th-floor windows of a virtual reality clinic where customers are threatening to leap to their deaths after a session of intense interactive role-playing. Feiffer homes in on a bank client, a doctor with a struggling research institution, a hefty overdraft and a gambling problem. That he may be the killer also occurs to a guard at the bank, a retired cop and psychopath in his own right, whose actions leave Feiffer with no suspect and only a scrupulous auditor's suggestion that bank records might not be pristine. With perfect timing and trenchant humor, Marshall braids the three cases, staying well ahead of readers who are repeatedly led to believe they know more than the coppers, only to be brought up short. A surefire nominee for best mystery of the year. (June)
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