cover image The Stone Veil

The Stone Veil

Ronald Tierney, Author St. Martin's Press $15.95 (197p) ISBN 978-0-312-03940-0

Tierney's debut won the publisher's First Private Eye Novel contest but it's a mistake to limit this intricate, lusty, funny, moving adventure about believably vulnerable characters to any genre. At age 70, Dietrich (Deets) Shanahan has been a PI in Indianapolis since the end of WW II. Now he wants to retire, hack around with his army buddies and woo Maureen Smith, a lady friend who works in a massage parlor. But he can't resist the pleas of Mrs. Stone--even though he thinks she's just a flaky rich woman--to trace her financier husband, William, unaccountably missing for many days. After Deets finds the man's body on the Stone estate, events become extremely tense and unpredictable, leading to feverish suspense, especially in the final confrontation that threatens Deets and his Maureen. At times, the action is hilarious, as in Deets's furious attempts to make sense of Stone's records on a contraption he'd never tangled with, a computer; or deeply sorrowful, as when the old investigator learns the murdered man's pathetic secrets. With this admirable start, Tierney firmly establishes himself as a writer of note. (Mar.)