Caravaggio Shawl

Samuel M. Steward, Author Alyson Books $8.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-55583-152-3
The second entry in Steward's series (following Murder Is Murder Is Murder ) featuring his friends novelist Gertrude Stein and her companion Alice B. Toklas is a droll tale of homicide and amateur detection. The book assumes familiarity with the coterie of expatriate writers and artists whose social lives in the years between the World Wars revolved around Stein and Toklas's Paris home in the Rue Christine, but a tightly plotted mystery keeps incessant name-dropping and coy insights into the two women's private affairs from becoming irritating. Steward shares Stein's well-known fascination with ratiocination. To explore it, he uses a trio of sleuths: the intellectually bold Stein, the detail-oriented Toklas and gay writer John McAndrews, their legman, whose experience in the secret world of homosexual Paris yields critical clues. The three do not operate as Holmes and Watson but rather as a tripartite Holmesian mind, each contributing a unique perspective that assists in unraveling the puzzle. The effect is entertaining, though not particularly suspenseful. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
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