cover image The Hunting Season

The Hunting Season

J. K. Mayo. Holt McDougal, $15.95 (252pp) ISBN 978-0-03-008002-9

Two baffling calamities befall playwright Anthony Moore while he is sailing home to England from France. First, he witnesses a man being murdered aboard ship. The next day, someone accosts Moore, grabs the manuscript of his new play and tosses it overboard. Moore's apprehension increases when, on landing, he meets Hary Seddall, an unkempt but cunning British Home Office official who is investigating the murder. A policeman alerts Moore to Seddall's unscrupulousness, but the playwright gamely puts these concerns aside when he leaves for Canada to adapt Dickens's Bleak House for a theatrical production. Moore's affable collaborator, Bruce Baldwin, and his comely wife, Sandy, warmly welcome him, yet Moore's elation vanishes when his apartment is burglarized, and unknown assailants kill Bruce shortly afterward. Assisted by the enigmatic and seemingly ubiquitous Seddall, Moore and Sandy try to solve these crimesplus the kidnapping of a wealthy Canadian businessmanand the trail leads to a beautiful Italian terrorist and her menacing uncle. Despite some spirited action, the novel becomes extremely confusing as it moves toward its improbable finale. (March 15)