The latest Lt. Hastings mystery ( Hire a Hangman ) is a casually accurate procedural rich in plot, characters--including suspects--and San Francisco color. From Valentine's Day through the next six weeks, a series of powerful and wealthy men are shot to death on the street, the weapon the .22 favored by professional hitmen. The cops finally connect the victims as rather nasty members of the ultra-exclusive Rabelais Club (a combination of the real-life Bohemian and Pacific Union clubs). Old scandals (a hooker's death covered up, a notorious high-stakes poker circle), heavy political and media pressure and glimpses (for us) of the killer's mind-set lead up to Hastings's harrowing, climactic confrontation with the murderer. The range of characters is great, including an old sportsman/socialite, an obsequious professional waiter, a garish fat lady running a halfway house. And while semi-stolid Hastings is in charge, his co-head of Homicide, the appealing Lt. Friedman (``I spent a lot of time in school standing in the corner. . . . I figured it was time well spent'') provides crucial balance. First-rate. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/30/1992 Release date: 04/01/1992 Genre: Fiction
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