cover image Killing Me Softly: A Gideon Lowry Mystery

Killing Me Softly: A Gideon Lowry Mystery

John Leslie. Pocket Books, $20 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-86420-0

Gideon Lowry, the featured PI in Leslie's ( Blood on the Keys ) new series, is caught in two small worlds: one--Key West, where he also plays at a piano bar--he's content to stay in; the other--alcoholism--he'd like to escape, at least on good days. Into this somewhat claustrophobic setting comes Virginia Murphy, whose family moved away from the Keys in the '50s after her beautiful and fast-living sister, Lila, was murdered. Virginia returns and hires Gideon, who was in Korea at the time of the crime, to follow up on the murder investigation that ``fizzled out'' long ago, but very soon she is dead herself from an apparently accidental fall. Gideon, who's taken Virginia's check, continues with the investigation, but those who remember Lila--from the older police to his own brother, Carl--have little to offer, a situation counterbalanced by intensified gossip along the tightly knit community's ``coconut telegraph,'' which wonders what motivates the PI's dogged prying into the affairs of the local aristocracy. Only one of the two deaths is explored satisfactorily, and by the end of the tale readers, who may have heard too much about drinking (overdoing it, getting over it or abstaining from it) and ``our people'' (Keys natives), will be glad to return to the mainland. (Apr.)