cover image Saratoga Hexameter: 2a Charlie Bradshaw Mystery

Saratoga Hexameter: 2a Charlie Bradshaw Mystery

Stephen Dobyns. Viking Books, $16.95 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-670-82568-4

This sixth in Dobyn's Charlie Bradshaw series (after Saratoga Longshot ), is sure to tickle fans of both poetry and detection. Dobyn's experiences in the world of the working poet (he's published six volumes of poetry and five literary novels) endow his latest mystery with particularly mordant humor. Luckless PI Charlie Bradshaw, called in to consult on a case involving poetry, discovers colleague Blake Moss dead on a merry-go-round in nearby Cohoes. Meanwhile, back at Charlie's mother's hotel in downtown Saratoga, N.Y., a bandit has pilfered a fortune in jewels from a guest's room, leaving an extremely bad poem in their stead. Then, in nearby Loudonville, Moss's lady friend reveals that the mysterious death of a beloved nurse has been memorialized through the poetry of an aged ex-jockey. And at a famous artists' colony on the outskirts of Saratoga, someone is terrorizing a critic via (artificial) dismembered limbs, hangings in effigy and (of course) bad poetry. Bradshaw goes undercover as a poet to solve the crime. The send-ups of the critical and artistic community are only some of the pleasures of this compact, seamless, tremendously amusing mystery in the best tradition of the genre. (July)