Came a Dead Cat

James N. Frey, Author St. Martin's Press $18.95 (234p) ISBN 978-0-312-06314-6
If you took a Ross Macdonald plot, injected a silly love triangle replete with soap opera-ish misunderstandings, moved the action to San Francisco and made the private eye a woman who engages in lame tough-girl dialogue, you'd have a mystery similar to this one. PI Odyssey Gallagher is hired by Aletha Holmcroft to find her very rich husband's latest bimbo who, she says, left a dead cat on the doorstep as a threat. Odyssey soon locates Rachel, who denies anything about a cat and is frantically trying to get out of town because she has narrowly escaped a killer's bullets. Od also discovers that her own ex-boyfriend Charlie Gore has been hired by Mr. Holmcroft to find Rachel. After Mr. Holmcroft, who's involved in some shady deals, is gunned down in front of his ritzy club, Rachel disappears. There are more murders, adultery, blackmail, suicide and an unlikely ending. Also a very large red herring, though readers will probably spot the killer one-third of the way through. Less explicable is Odyssey's interest in loutish Charlie. Edgar-nominated Frey ( A Long Way to Die ) has done better. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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