The Great Harvard Robbery

John Minahan, Author W. W. Norton & Company $16.95 (267p) ISBN 978-0-393-02605-4
Stripped down to the bare bones, Minihan's newest mystery promises a lively chase, but its execution falls just short of dull. In his sixth appearance ( The Great Diamond Robbery , The Great Hotel Robbery ), folksy, plain-spoken New York police detective ``Little John'' Rawlins matches wits with the powers of darkness. While investigating the robbery of a statue guarding a Catholic school, he follows the sound of scratching chalk to an empty schoolroom with a blackboard covered by Satanic scrawlings. Later, a huge cobra materializes where the statue had stood, then vanishes, untouched by a fusillade of police bullets. The apparent focus of this harassment is Commisioner Reilly, who carefully observes the typed instructions that follow the pranks. When Reilly attends Harvard's 350th birthday celebration, the university's Gutenberg Bible is stolen; for its return, the invisible thief demands the university sell its holdings in South Africa. Little John throws out some pithy lines while moving toward an unlikely resolution, but only staunch fans could enjoy his repetitious patter about Brahmins, eggheads, and the rich versus the common man. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1988
Release date: 10/01/1988
Genre: Fiction
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