cover image Wall of Glass

Wall of Glass

Walter Satterthwait. St. Martin's Press, $16.95 (246pp) ISBN 978-0-312-01530-5

Private eye Joshua Croft is approached in his Santa Fe office by a tough little cowboy with a ""hypothetical'' question: What would an insurance company pay for a stolen necklace worth $100,000? Croft can't even get the cowboy's name, so it's no dice, although he does report the conversation that night to his boss, Rita Mondragon. The next day, Croft reads of the cowboy's murder. In fairly quick time, the Mondragon Agency is investigating the six-month-old theft of a $100,000 necklace from the home of developer Derek Leighton. Soon Croft has been shot at, the beautiful owner of an art gallery is murdered, Croft is beaten up by an ex-con friend of the dead cowboy and is given cryptic advice by a local crime kingpin. Illicit sexsome of it kinky, with Polaroid printsSwiss bank accounts, Indian grave-robbing and endangered species come into play, but the surprise villain turns out not to be involved with money. There is also Croft's unrequited love for the crippled Rita. His use of deft characterization, quick pace and plotting, and effective Santa Fe color makes Satterthwait a find. (February)