The Man Who Wasn't There

John William Wainwright, Author St. Martin's Press $14.95 (189p) ISBN 978-0-312-03396-5
As the British author's new series entry opens, Inspector Lyle consents to a secret agreement, promoting him to detective superintendent and moving him from Rogate-on-Sands to the busy city of Lessford. In his insufferably arrogant fashion, Lyle describes his triumphs over suave profiteer Foster Adams, who controls hookers, gambling and other vices in the corrupt city. Since bribed cops had heretofore protected Adams, especially from charges of several murders, Lyle's decision to expose the racketeers is an impetus for frantic action that moves from crises to outright battles. Wainwright solves the cases with a typically clever denouement to his potentially terrific mystery. The obstacle to real enjoyment lies, as usual, in Wainwright's distracting prose style. The dialogue staggers under the weight of italics and exclamation points; characters ``tease,'' ``grumble,'' ``smile,'' ``mock,'' etc., rather than speak their lines. And Lyle's contempt for almost everyone except himself makes him as hard to care about as his enemies. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
Hardcover - 281 pages - 978-0-7089-2671-0
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