The Nominative Case

Edward Mackin, Author Walker & Company $18.95 (199p) ISBN 978-0-8027-5780-7
English professor August Frye tries to assuage guilt by investigating the death of a colleague in this intriguing but flawed mystery. As a prank, Frye mails a parody of a poem to a literary journal under the name of fellow professor Stanley Bledsoe. The gag backfires when the journal foils Bledsoe's ``attempted plagiarism'' and the sensitive would-be poet is found dead in a car outside his Bronx apartment. Although the autopsy indicates asphyxiation, possibly suicide, there are signs of a blow to Bledsoe's forehead and Frye summons the help of his former student, NYPD Sgt. James Cable. Their prime suspects becomes an intimidating semi-illiterate who has threatened Bledsoe in order to get a passing grade and whose girlfriend owned the car in which Bledsoe expired. But after the college's dean is murdered as well, Frye and Cable wonder if one person had motive to kill both victims. Mackin's ( Father Dowling Mysteries ) biting wit, fine dialogue and memorable players hold their own here in spite of the virtual disappearance of Bledsoe's murder case from the plot, a deus ex machina resolution and a weak connection between the murders. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1991
Release date: 03/01/1991
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