cover image New, Improved Murder: A Mystery

New, Improved Murder: A Mystery

Edward Gorman. St. Martin's Press, $12.95 (180pp) ISBN 978-0-312-56768-2

Fast and funny, this first in a promised series bodes very well indeed. Narrator Jack Dwyer is an ex-cop, a part-time rent-a-cop and an aspiring actor. He meets his former lover, Jane, who's holding a pistol and saying only, ""He's dead.'' Sure enough, the cops find the body of her most recent boyfriend, Stephen Elliot, whiz ad exec; Jane's gun is the murder weapon. Dwyer may still be in love with her but it all smells wrong and he begins his own investigation. The victim, he discovers, was a heel, with lots of enemies; he had indulged in ad-biz sleaze, blackmail, some kinky adultery. As Dwyer delves into the advertising world, he meets Donna Harris, who is trying to start an industry newsletter. Dwyer first finds her ``endearingly wacky'' and then falls in love with her, as will most readers. Ad-exec Gorman (Rough Cut) has a sharp eye and quick pen for people. After Dwyer and Harris team up with a couple of nifty closing lines, one looks forward to their next caper. December 28