There Was an Old Woman

Howard Engel, Author Overlook Press $24.95 (262p) ISBN 978-1-58567-044-4
Canadian PI Benny Cooperman returns in this agreeable if not top-notch offering from Arthur Ellis Award-winner Engel (Getting Away with Murder; Murder on Location; etc.), set in the town of Grantham, Ontario. Kogan, the caretaker of Cooperman's office building, asks the detective to look into the apparent starvation death of his elderly girlfriend, Lizzy Oldridge. Cooperman agrees, asking only that Kogan fix his leaky toilet in payment. The inquest reveals that Lizzy had plenty of money, but that she couldn't touch it because of a trust set up by failed politician Thurleigh Ramsden. Ramsden also happens to be the executor of Lizzy's will and the head of the Guild of the Venerable Bede, the charitable organization to which Lizzy left her money. While Cooperman probes this disturbing case, attorney Julian Newby hires him to collect information on attractive local TV anchor Catherine Bracken. When two murders follow, Cooperman discovers that the town of Grantham has lots of dirty laundry to be aired. Though the story starts out crisply, it falters about midway and drags to a muddled conclusion featuring barely mentioned characters and an unlikely surprise for Kogan. Cooperman fans, however, should enjoy seeing their hero once again, even in these reduced circumstances. Agent, Beverly Sloan Literary Agency. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-670-85259-8
Paperback - 262 pages - 978-1-58567-255-4
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