cover image A Grand Night for Murder

A Grand Night for Murder

H. Paul Jeffers. St. Martin's Press, $20.95 (213pp) ISBN 978-0-312-13084-8

Mystery writers, publishers, booksellers and fans will take special pleasure in Jeffers's premise: an obnoxious true-crime author, just named a Grand Master at the Mystery Writers of America's annual Edgar Awards dinner, is found dead the next day, still dressed in his evening clothes-with a table-full of colleagues having vocally wished him dead at the dinner. Jonathan Dodge had plenty of enemies, but also a colorful past as a reporter in Vietnam, which is where he had known Morgan Griffith, the mystery writer at whose country house his body was discovered. Working in tandem, Arlene Flynn, a young country detective, and the New York City Chief of Detectives and his assistant comb through the many suspects, referring, as they go, to the grandest master of them all, Sherlock Holmes (the literary references are incessant and delightful). Soon, two more are dead, and motives become less obvious. Jeffers plays fair, however, allowing a really alert reader to spot the clues leading to the killer-though it might involve tracking the abundant red herrings among all the Edgar color. A thoroughly professional job, although Jeffers may not be endearing himself to the MWA. (July)