cover image Night Secrets

Night Secrets

Thomas H. Cook. Putnam Publishing Group, $19.95 (301pp) ISBN 978-0-399-13527-9

Frank Clemons, the Atlanta cop who followed his lover to New York and stayed on as a private eye even after they parted ( Flesh and Blood ) still haunts Manhattan's gritty streets. This time he's on two cases: days, he's tracking a wealthy man's wife as she visits other men; at night he's puzzling out the murder of a gypsy crone on 10th Ave. From his mysterious friend Farouk, whose mother was a gypsy, Frank learns that the wild-eyed young woman, called the Puri Dai, or Tribal Woman, who has confessed to the murder, belongs to an obscure gypsy sect that carries out rituals based on Christ's having fathered a child with Mary Magdalene. Frank, ineluctably drawn to the Puri Dai, is sure she is innocent and tries to clear her, even though she refuses to cooperate. Cook evokes New York's pungent atmosphere, complete with homeless people and all-night grocery stores, and makes Frank's profound loneliness palpable as he brings both cases--the nighttime one more convincingly--to satisfying conclusions. Mystery Guild selection; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternates. (June)