cover image The Cover Girl Killer: A Hobart Lindsey/Marvia Plum Mystery

The Cover Girl Killer: A Hobart Lindsey/Marvia Plum Mystery

Richard A. Lupoff. St. Martin's Press, $21.95 (280pp) ISBN 978-0-312-13455-6

Having plumbed the worlds of classic cars, comic books and old movies, Lupoff turns in his fifth Hobart Lindsey and Marvia Plum mystery (after The Sepia Siren Killer) to rare pulp paperbacks. While insurance-claims adjuster Hobart and Berkeley, Calif., cop Marvia are on a boat in Lake Tahoe with Marvia's son Jamie, they witness the crash of a helicopter, in which millionaire Albert Vansittart dies. In fact, Jamie captures the accident and the rescue of the pilot on video. It happens that Hobart's company, International Surety, carried Vansittart's policy, which names, as its beneficiary, the ""girl on the cover of Death in the Ditch."" Hobart's search for the mystery woman takes him into the world of rare paperbacks and short-lived publishers--and to New Orleans, where the story becomes one of love, sacrifice and the ideals of the Americans who fought against fascism in Spain. Eventually, his search leads Hobart to his old nemesis, Nathan ben Zinowicz, and a brutal conclusion. Amidst the mostly loud and obnoxious cast, Hobart remains likable enough to carry the reader through Lupoff's occasionally labored history lessons. (Oct.)