The Queen's Mare

John Birkett, Author Avon Books $3.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-380-75683-4
Birkett's ( The Last Private Eye ) second whodunit again features private eye Michael Rhineheart, an old-fashioned gumshoe with a stack of unpaid bills, a smart-mouthed secretary and a confidential mission that could happen only in Kentucky bluegrass country. Rhineheart is called in by ``the Grande Dame of Kentucky Racing'' to deliver a million-dollar ransom for a kidnapped broodmare and her foal. The pressure is on to complete the transaction quickly, since the mare belongs to the Queen of England, scheduled to visit in less than a week. But the simple ransom-exchange plan turns into a double-cross, and soon Rhineheart finds himself looking for the horses, the ransom money and a ruthless murderer who already has killed twice. Though Rhineheart is amiable enough, the story itself is overplotted and talky. The social events involving racing's glitterati are unconvincing in depicting the glamour and essence of the horsey set. Birkett's hard-boiled dialogue is lifeless, and the story has a derivative feel to it, as though all of the author's research took place in a class on detective fiction. (July )
Reviewed on: 07/01/1990
Release date: 07/01/1990
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-06-235620-8
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