Manila Bay

William Leonard Marshall, Author Viking Books $15.95 (214p) ISBN 978-0-670-81110-6
This uneven detective story set in the Philippines focuses on a series of killings relating to the enormously popular (and, in that country, respectable) sport of cockfighting. ""Battling Mendez,'' a gamecock so famous throughout the islands that he advertizes his own brand of beer and opens supermarkets, is tended by Paulo and Francisco Royares. When these two brothers are ritualistically slaughtered, Lt. Felix Elizalde of the Western District Police is called to head the investigation. More brutal murders, all of men with interests in the champion gamecock, have Elizalde thinking in terms of drug running, smuggling or large-scale financial swindling. Throughout the search for the killer, two of Elizalde's associates, Detective Sgt. Baptiste Bontoc and Detective Sgt. Vincente Ambrosio, are involved in ludicrous and fragmented subplotsongoing investigations that recall the antics of the Three Stooges at their worst. A cloying cuteness begins to blanket the novel, undermining any attempts at tension or drama. The lieutenant, depicted as a man struggling to keep his integrity in a corrupt and inept bureaucracy, solves the mystery in an unrealistic flash of intuition. He then summons his two clowning associates for a final assault on the murderer's hideout. But the chronic juggling of buffoonery and serious policework has long since destroyed credibility. (December)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1986
Release date: 12/01/1986
Mass Market Paperbound - 214 pages - 978-0-14-008921-9
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