cover image Several Deaths Later

Several Deaths Later

Edward Gorman. St. Martin's Press, $15.95 (213pp) ISBN 978-0-312-02279-2

Gorman scores another hit with this witty, fast-paced mystery. Tobin ( Murder on the Aisle ), semipermanently drunk movie critic and ex-TV star, is the guest panelist on Celebrity Circle , a TV game show being taped on a cruise to the Virgin Islands. The ship is barely out of port when the show's host is murdered in a cabin while awaiting beautiful, starstruck Cindy McBain. Next, a reporter for Snoop magazine and a private investigator are killed. The ship's captain asks Tobin to help with the investigation and allows him to search the victims' belongings. Tobin finds a photo of a woman whose face has been obliterated and two old, seemingly unrelated newspaper clippings. And when the word ``payday,'' which is used frequently in the reporter's notebook, is mentioned to the stars, each behaves suspiciously. Tobin sets a trap for the killer and then fails, in a hilariously funny scene, by capturing everyone. Despite its lighthearted spirit, this novel, like a movie from Tobin's favorite genre, is full of characters with twisted motivations and dark passions. Gorman successfully blends screwball comedy with film noir. (Nov.)