cover image Saratoga Payback: A Charlie Bradshaw Mystery

Saratoga Payback: A Charlie Bradshaw Mystery

Stephen Dobyns. Blue Rider, $27 (368p) ISBN 978-0-399-57657-7

Senior citizen Charlie Bradshaw, last seen in 1998’s Saratoga Strongbox, knows the last thing he should be doing is nosing around a homicide investigation, having been stripped of his PI license and gun permit largely through lobbying by the Saratoga, N.Y., police department he once worked for. But it’s tough not to when the victim, inveterate scammer Mickey Martin, is an acquaintance, whose corpse Charlie discovers dumped on the sidewalk in front of his house at the outset of Dobyns’s entertaining 11th series outing. Charlie starts making discreet inquiries, but, when he practically stumbles across a second body, he’s off to the races. Though the department’s working theory of the case regards the murders as somehow connected to a gruesome series of horse-nappings, Charlie suspects a darker, deadlier plot rooted back in the time both victims spent in prison. With a lively pace and plenty of quirky characters (including Charlie’s finagler buddy, Victor Plotz), this entry makes the case that this sleuth definitely shouldn’t be put out to pasture. Agent: Phyllis Westberg, Harold Ober Associates. (Mar.)