The Wrong Gun

J. P. Hailey, Author Dutton Books $20.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-55611-333-8
The good news about the fifth mystery starring lawyer Steve Winslow (following The Naked Typist ) is that the realistic courtroom scenes crackle and about a third of the action takes place in court. The bad news? The writing is serviceable at best, the plot unlikely and the ending too pat. Gun collector Russ Timberlaine discovers that one of his treasures, an 1862 Colt .45 once owned by a famous outlaw, has been stolen and replaced by a copy. Thinking that someone plans to implicate him in a crime, he hires Winslow to find the original gun and protect him from a frame-up. Winslow and his perky assistant Tracy attend a weekend gun auction at Timberlaine's Long Island mansion, where a gun expert is shot to death, apparently with a bullet from the fake Colt. Winslow must now clear his client of a murder charge, sorting out a puzzle rendered almost impenetrable by the existence of no less than three ``wrong guns''--1862 Colts being improbably abundant in this tale. Readers will soon find all the mystification annoying and greet the ending, glib though it is, with relief. Under his real name, Parnell Hall, the author writes the Stanley Hastings detective series. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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