Timor Mortis

Will Harriss, Author Walker & Company $15.95 (213p) ISBN 978-0-8027-5643-5
In this second of Harriss's series (The Bay Psalm Book Murder, Cliff Dunbar again applies his skills as an amateur detective in solving the murder of aging, extraordinarily wealthy Maria Atterbury, the pro-tem president of a classy Los Angeles department store. Newly returned from his honeymoon, Dunbar enters the case on behalf of his sister, Alison, a painter who wants either her commission for her portrait of Maria or the return of her canvas. Midst the oils lies the clue. Before he uncovers it, Dunbar learns how an art dealer can corner the market in Utrillos, how an artist renders lace in the impasto technique and how it feels to bounce toward his own death in a car trunk, having been captured by murderous thugs. Intricately plotted, filled with interesting if arcane knowledge, the novel's chief fault is that Dunbar manages at best a graceless, stilted dialogue and his running consciousness is often commentary rather than discovery. (July 15)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
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