A Country of Old Men

Joseph Hansen, Author Viking Books $17.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-670-83826-4
Fans of Hansen's spare style and wit, refined in the 11 titles from Fadeout to The Boy Who Was Buried This Morning , will mourn if this bears out its subtitle, The Last Dave Brandstetter Mystery . Ex-insurance claims investigator Brandstetter, in his 60s now, is lured out of retirement by an old friend who's found an abused little boy on her beach with a story that hints at murder. It turns out that the boy was kidnapped by a young woman who may have witnessed the murder of her ex-lover. She's a suspect, but there are others: the boy's father, the young woman's father, her current lover. Brandstetter's dogged work uncovers the surprising villain after an enjoyable tour of an L.A. peopled with colorful characters. The subplot involves the memoirs of Dave's high school pal, which worry some ``respectable'' classmates. Hansen's lean style is true to the hard-boiled school and his matter-of-fact approach to Brandstetter's homosexuality is still refreshing. The final scene seems to fulfill the subtitle, but it's also the ending that Brandstetter would want for a class act. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1991
Release date: 05/01/1991
Paperback - 177 pages - 978-0-452-26805-0
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