The Naked Typist

J. P. Hailey, Author Dutton Books $18.95 (276p) ISBN 978-1-55611-175-4
Hailey's latest mystery is a serious test of the reader's capacity for silliness. Although Herbert Clay, bookkeeper for conglomerate Castleton Industries has been incarcerated for company embezzlement, his sister, Kelly, is convinced of his innocence. Prior to his arrest, Clay had faxed a letter describing the defalcations he had discovered to Milton Castleton, the octogenarian head of the firm. The fax is missing. To gain access to the computer that recorded each transmission, Kelly takes a job as typist of Castleton's memoirs. There is one stipulation: she must type in the nude. This requirement bears no relationship to anything else in the novel, but does provide the bulk of the (elementary) school yard humor. When she resists the advances of Castleton's lieutenant, Kelly finds herself out in the cold without a stitch. She hies it directly to attorney Steve Winslow's ( The Underground Man ) office. Winslow gets her a $50,000 settlement, but Kelly doesn't cash the check, and his curiosity is aroused. After Kelly is charged with the murder of Castleton's grandson, Winslow defends her in what appears to be a hopeless effort. When all seems irretrievably lost, he puts a surprise witness on the stand. In the guise of questioning, Winslow, in a monologue that would be ruled out of order in any court, sets forth his absurd theory of the case, leading to a preposterious denouement. This book makes no demands on its readers, and meets no expectations, even modest ones. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/1990
Release date: 11/01/1990
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