The Con: A Gil Yates Private Investigator Novel

Alistair Boyle, Author Knoll Publishers $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-9627297-9-9
Too many puns and too few cons make a groaner out of the second Gil Yates caper (after The Missing Link). Most of the time, Yates is Malvin Stark, underachiever and dweeb. By day, he works for his blustery father-in-law; by night, he fantasizes about braining Dorcas (aka Tyranny Rex), his battle-ax of a wife. But here, in his other life as Yates, a discreet PI who only works on a contingency basis, he receives a call from Franklin d'Lacy, the flamboyant managing director of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Museum of Art, who asks him to recover a stolen Monet. With the promise of a cool million upon delivery of the painting to d'Lacy, Yates jets off to London and then Zurich, following the trail of a gallery owner and a notorious forger until it leads to his nemesis (and first client), arms dealer Michael Hadaad. Who's getting conned? That's the question. But the plot is really secondary to the Walter Mittyness of it all, as the narrating Yates relates every henpecked husband's fantasy of derring-do. His mangling of cliches (""fit as a cello""; ""the vegetables of my labor"") are charming for about 10 pages. After that, it's a matter of a reader's willingness to endure a tale that's about as credible as Snoopy's exploits in his Sopwith Camel. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
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