Gregory Mcdonald, Author . Pantheon $23 (224p) ISBN 978-0-375-42236-2

Edgar winner Mcdonald (Fletch, etc.) resurrects minor series character Francis Xavier Flynn, after almost two decades, in a lightweight comic quasi-mystery. "Inspector" Flynn is just the cover identify for a mysterious spy believed dead by most players in the espionage game. Comfortably ensconced in Boston with his poet wife and their five children, Flynn makes almost no effort to sustain his pretense, so that even his slow-witted partner can pick up the anomalies of a man who takes off from work five times to attend his mother's funeral and twice for appendix removal. Flynn pursues three puzzles simultaneously: the nailing to a tree of the ear of his daughter's wrestler boyfriend, a bizarre pattern of harassment directed at an aging but once well-respected Harvard humanities professor, and the odd arrest record of a rising police star who somehow manages to place the bracelets only on minorities and people of color. None of these cases requires Flynn to display any particular brilliance, insight or skills derived from his true career in intelligence work. The insular Flynn moves at his own speed in a way that's hard to take seriously in a post–September 11 world, where the notion of a trained and valuable asset being pampered rather than utilized is jarring. While his commitment to his family makes him sympathetic, Flynn is not well served here by a plot that flirts with serious intellectual issues without developing them. (June 24)

FYI:Mcdonald has more than 100 million copies of his books in print.

Reviewed on: 05/19/2003
Release date: 06/01/2003
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-375-71358-3
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-307-42594-2
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