cover image Body Scissors

Body Scissors

Jerome Doolittle. Pocket Books, $17.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-70752-1

In this realistic, sharply penned mystery, freelance ``researcher'' Tom Bethany, hired to ferret out potential embarrassments in the life of a Boston Brahmin, turns up the perpetrator of an unspeakable murder. A Vietnam veteran who has made the U.S. Olympic wrestling team, Bethany is asked to perform a routine background check on scholarly Alden Kellicott, who is the likely choice of a presidential hopeful for Secretary of State. Bethany learns the blueblood married into his current station and, early in life, displayed a certain cunning. More intriguing are hints that Kellicott frequented adult bookstores in Boston's ``Combat Zone,'' although the powerful nominee says he had simply been searching for his runaway daughter, Emily, who had turned to drugs and prostitution in her teens and was eventually murdered by her pimp, according to Kellicott and the Boston Public Defender. But Bethany's investigation reveals Emily, neither whore nor drug fiend, was an aspiring artist, and the alleged pimp, whose initials were found sliced into her breasts, turns out to be not at all as expected. Shortly before Kellicott's nomination is to be announced, Bethany turns to extralegal methods in his search for the truth, leading to a riveting, unpredictable resolution. Doolittle's ( The Bombing Officer ) stylized dialogue can wear thin but does not diminish his vividly drawn players. (Nov.)