cover image Carnal Fours: 2a Nathan Heller Novel

Carnal Fours: 2a Nathan Heller Novel

Max Allan Collins. Dutton Books, $20.95 (336pp) ISBN 978-0-525-93758-6

In the Bahamas the carnal hours occupy the time between dark and daylight. They also occupy the sharp mind of Chicago shamus Nathan Heller, once again sleuthing his way through a period mystery that tosses real characters in with invented ones and juxtaposes a documented death with an imagined one. Collins is a master of this sub-genre: Heller's previous adventures have produced many award nominations and three outright wins, the last being a Shamus for Stolen Away , in which Nate found himself solving the Lindbergh case. Here he's sweating in the Caribbean heat after local millionaire Sir Harry Oakes hires him to get the goods on his smooth, philandering son-in-law Freddie de Marigny. Before Nate can spend any of his handsome fee, Oakes is shot and burned to death and Freddie is the prime suspect of two Miami cops. Nate is allowed to keep his retainer by Harry's daughter, provided he clears her hubby's name. Freddie's no saint, but he isn't the killer. As always, real life figures pop up: Wallis Simpson and her husband, Elliot Ness, Meyer Lansky, even Perry Mason's creator Erle Stanley Gardner, who proves himself as effective a sleuth as his fans could hope. (Apr.)