The Black Star Murders

Dale L. Gilbert, Author St. Martin's Press $17.95 (265p) ISBN 978-0-312-01391-2
Wisecracking private eye Matt Doyle does a favor for a friend and has a run-in with the mob. Forced to leave Chicago, he settles in San Diego, at the seaside home of ex-Secretary of State Carter Winfield. They set up a detective agency, obviously a combination of brains and brawn. Doyle investigates a series of cat-burglaries, all bearing a bravado signature: as a calling card, the thief has left a white carnation at the scene of each crime. Winfield is certain that this is a ruse to divert suspicion from a more serious crime still to come. During the next burglary he is proven correct; a pharmaceutical company CEO is killed. Her tomcat husband has a motive (she is throwing him out) and an alibi (staff meeting). The plot is largely predictable, the characters and dialogue hackneyed. Tough-guy patter``You guys lie like rugs''; ``he was mad enough to chew nails''and tired similes``like a bull in a china shop''; ``like a compass needle homing in on magnetic north''are more reminiscent of Encyclopedia Brown than Philip Marlowe in this disappointing debut. (June)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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