cover image Steel Guitar

Steel Guitar

Linda Barnes. Delacorte Press, $18.5 (257pp) ISBN 978-0-385-30013-1

Tall, red-haired private eye and part-time cab driver Carlotta Carlyle returns for her fourth, cleverly plotted and zestfully related adventure. in which she must deal with her past. Her former best friend, singer Dee Willis, in Boston to begin a tour, hires Carlotta to find a mutual friend, bass player Davey Dunrobie. Carlotta is suspicious--not, she tells herself, because Dee walked off with her husband Cal Therieux, but because Dee isn't the type to pay to have someone located for old time's sake. Dee finally admits that Davey has claimed that she stole his songs and owes him $300,000. The singer wants to talk to Davey, but when she finds the body of her current bass player in her hotel room, she begs Carlotta to stop the search. Intrigued by Dee's plea and angered by the ransacking of her own home, Carlotta decides to investigate. Barnes ( Coyote ) turns out a characteristically gripping tale, packed with taut, energy-charged images. (Nov.)