cover image Saratoga Bestiary: 2a Charlie Bradshaw Mystery

Saratoga Bestiary: 2a Charlie Bradshaw Mystery

Stephen Dobyns. Viking Books, $16.95 (272pp) ISBN 978-0-670-82024-5

A group of mysteries in one, Saratoga Bestiary builds up smoothly to a truly savage ending. First, a painting of a famous racehorse is stolen, and private investigator Charlie Bradshaw (in his fifth outing) is hired to deliver the ransom money. The painting isn't returned, and Bradshaw, despite being asked to desist, investigates the theft. A shopkeeper he likes is murdered, and he plunges into the caseagain, unasked. He is, however, requested to investigate the robbery of friends during a Superbowl gambling party. And it's then that the story's theme, gambling, draws together many different people and clues. Busy with all the investigations, Bradshaw is always half a step behind his suspects. But this keeps the story engaging and the reader well-entertained. (Dec.)